Adam Carey has a report in The Age today, on Victoria’s declining enrolments in Specialist Mathematics. Which is quite the puzzle. After all, if an “advanced mathematics subject” is a prerequisite for tertiary studies, and if on top of that the subject is well constructed and offers serious and interesting mathematics, then student numbers should be very healthy. Oh, wait.
Anyway, not to worry, since there are two very hopeful signs. First of all, Carey’s report points to the Australian Academy of Science’s Decadal Plan for repairing the mathematical sciences. True, we’re already seven years into AAS’s ten-year plan, with no sign yet of a bumper crop. And true, AAS were the guys who teamed up with ACARA to sell ACARA’s new curriculum. But obviously it’ll all come together in the next three years. Or, there’ll be a new decadal plan. Or something. It’s the Australian Academy of Sciences: they obviously know what they’re talking and talking and talking and talking about.
The second hopeful sign is VCAA’s brand new VCE curriculum. Obviously, the increased emphasis on CAS, and on SACs, and the introduction of algorithmics and pseudocode, will simply stun any prospective students. We can just see Specialist numbers going through the roof. Or through something, anyway.