More than half of the students in the United Kingdom will be entering high school in 2021, but the country’s mathematical and scientific achievements have been largely ignored in favour of the humanities, according to a new report.
The report by the Institute of Mathematics and the British Academy (IAM) has found that there are just five universities with a “mathematical concentration” in the UK, compared with 18 in France, 27 in Italy and 43 in the US.
It said that despite being a highly skilled and highly internationalised nation, Britain has largely neglected the arts.
The IAM report argues that “the mathematics of the UK is often overlooked, undervalued and under-utilised”.
It highlighted a lack of funding for maths programmes, a lack for access to high-quality research, and a lack in access to specialist teachers.
It also said that a lack the funding for a “further mathematics” programme at university level could leave pupils “disadvantaged in life”, with some pupils finding that they can’t even afford to study for GCSEs.
The government has previously announced that it plans to double funding for university maths in 2021.
In a statement, IAM chief executive Peter Wright said: “The maths sector needs the most help to be taken seriously and our research into mathematics is vital to the future success of this country.”
We know that it’s vitally important that we are delivering the best maths education to the most young people, but we also know that we have to make sure the funding is there.
“In order to deliver the best possible maths education for the most talented and the brightest, we need the right funding.”
It’s time for the government to fund higher levels of mathematics education, not lower them.
“Mathematics is a great discipline but it’s not just a science, it’s an art, and it needs a strong, skilled and internationally competitive curriculum.”