New campaign and course making mathematics count

A new Numeracy course will support Year 11 and 12 students to build functional and practical mathematics skills.

A new Numeracy course for Year 11 and 12 students will be available to all NSW schools to support students to build functional and practical numeracy and mathematics skills for life and work in the 21st century.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell joined Maths Ambassadors Michael O'Loughlin, Professor Nalini Joshi and Dr Matt Agnew to announce the new course and launch the 2021 Maths Trains Brains campaign.

Ms Mitchell said the new course was one element of the NSW Mathematics Strategy aimed at ensuring all students have the necessary support to develop core numeracy and mathematics skills and apply them to everyday life.

“Students who have been a part of the pilot course are more engaged in maths by up to 11 percentage points, which is a huge success and will help set them up for the future,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We’ve seen increased engagement particularly from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students in rural and remote areas and students studying vocational education and training courses.

“Those are the results we want to see from the NSW Mathematics Strategy because every child in NSW deserves the opportunity to develop the mathematics skills and understanding necessary to succeed in life and expand their options for post-school pathways.”

The release of the new course coincides with the launch of the 2021 Maths Trains Brains campaign, which aims to drive interest and engagement with mathematics.

“Mathematics is so important, and this campaign encourages everyone from students to parents and carers to engage with mathematics,” Ms Mitchell said.

AFL legend and GO Foundation cofounder Michael O’Loughlin said education and a strong mathematics understanding is crucial for young people.

“I’m a parent and advocate for empowering young Indigenous students through education. Mathematics opens doorways to success for students,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

Esteemed mathematician and the University of Sydney’s first female Professor of Mathematics, Professor Nalini Joshi said mathematics was essential for students’ understanding of new ideas and judging whether they are based on evidence.

“In the same way that learning to read as a child shapes how we communicate in our adult lives, learning how to do mathematics leads to rhythms in the way we think,” Professor Joshi said.

“I am extremely pleased to be involved in this program, by helping to communicate and show to students, parents and carers that mathematics is an essential skill we need to thrive in our fast changing, technologically sophisticated society.”

Astrophysicist, engineer and author Dr Matt Agnew has been involved in teaching students mathematics for several years, and is passionate about helping to reverse the falling interest in mathematics by students.

“Mathematical understanding and confidence is critically important to one's confidence in and understanding of the world around us,” Dr Agnew said.

“Mathematics is everywhere and mastering it will help our students succeed in anything they choose to do.”

Parents and carers can visit the Everyday Maths Hub curated by NSW mathematics teachers, to engage with their children on mathematics in everyday life.

Visit the NESA website for more information about the Numeracy course.

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