May 21, 2019 | Updated: 01:09 PM EDT

Australian Students Lack Interest & Knowledge Of Mathematics, Study Suggests

Apr 04, 2017 11:19 PM EDT

A study suggests that it is very likely that Australia may not cope up with the demand for qualified graduates from the Mathematics field.
(Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A dire lack of interest or even lack of knowledge in Mathematics led to Australian students in choosing careers that are less focused on the subject. Even if there is Math in subsequent fields, they are not as extensive. There is a notable decline in students who are taking science, technology, engineering, and mathematics strands or STEM.

According to professor Kathryn Holmes of the Western Sydney University-School of Education, there is a very limited number of Australian students who want to pursue Mathematics. An extensive research was done to trace the reason behind this withdrawal. The primary factor linked to STEM career's low participation is fear of mathematics.

Holmes mixed her respondents with primary school students to those who are in higher years. Of 6,492 Australian students who participated, only a surprising 8 of them said that they know Mathematics and they will select a career in line with STEM, PhysOrg reported. The rest are either simply not interested or are afraid that their limited knowledge isn't sufficient to make it through.

Holmes also stressed that it is very likely that Australia may not cope up with the demand for qualified graduates from the STEM field. STEM careers are exponentially growing in Australia and it is getting harder to fill up the positions available. The study also cemented the notion that males are more likely to pursue mathematics careers than females.

Meanwhile, Holmes proposes an added dedication among teachers in lower year levels. The students' flair for Mathematics can be developed during early school years. The study also proposes extra attention for females since the crucial interests for STEM are lower among them, according to the Western Sydney University journal. While increased academic achievements for males usually result to increased interest in mathematics, the same doesn't apply for females.

Holmes also said that Australian teachers should also look at their own behavior towards Mathematics. It is important to guide students with an unbiased promotion of STEM. Teachers should avoid giving hints if they themselves don't like mathematics, she added.

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