Maths crisis and teaching


Sir, – I refer to coverage of the report by the National Competitiveness Council (“Ireland in maths crisis as students lag behind”, Home News, July 4th), where much is made of the importance of mathematics and the need for high achievers in maths to be given appropriate training.

I gained an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at UCD as well as a masters and PhD in materials science (from Imperial College London and the University of Oxford, respectively). I plan to become a secondary teacher and have been accepted for the postgraduate diploma in education in Trinity College Dublin. Unfortunately the Teaching Council does not accept engineering degrees for registration of mathematics teachers. It also does not take postgraduate degrees into account when assessing qualifications as “there is no Leaving Certificate course content in a PhD”.

This is all taking place as Engineers Ireland and many industry leaders are actively promoting the need for improvement in maths training. Indeed Engineers Ireland provide supplementary mathematics teaching to second-level students (presumably by unqualified maths teachers).

I have been met with a wall of silence, and an unwillingness to engage in my communications with the Teaching Council and the Department of Education and Skills. Regrettably, unless the political will is there to allow those who have the necessary skills to teach maths, Ireland’s position, languishing among the low achievers in mathematics, will be sustained for many years to come. – Yours, etc,


Wellington Road,


Dublin 4.