FYI: Year 12 maths enrolments have reached an all-time low

Enrolments in maths

New data just released by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) shows that Year 12 student enrolments in maths have taken a huge nose dive.

So what are the numbers saying exactly? Well, during the past decade around 71-73% of Year 12 students have taken on one or more maths subjects. But in 2020, this dropped to just 66% (according to AMSI’s report).

You might be wondering what’s caused the drop. AMSI Director, Professor Tim Marchant, says, “Australia’s declining mathematics participation is a multi-faceted problem that requires national collaboration between government and educators to reverse.

“It is critical we act now to tackle out-of-field mathematics teaching, which is happening 40% of the time. We need to be working with these teachers, increasing their training and professional development.”

Out-of-field teaching is when a teacher teaches a subject they haven’t got the right qualifications for.

The report also shows that participation rates for girls are poor, with only 6.7% enrolled in advanced maths (compared to 7.5% in 2019) and 16.8% in intermediate maths (compared to 20.5% in 2019).

What does all this mean? Future workers may not have the STEM skills they need, as 75% of Australia’s fastest growing employment areas rely on science, tech, engineering and maths knowledge.

“Mathematics skills are essential across so many industry sectors and the severity of this situation will impact Australia’s innovation capabilities. Action must be taken now – these students are our future workforce,” says Professor Marchant.

What can you do?

Don’t drop maths! Here are three reasons why you should stick with it.

If you’re struggling with maths, have a chat with your parents, teacher or school to see how they can support you.

It can also help to see the fun side and real life application of maths. We’ve got all the resources for this. Check out the following…

You can also download our FREE poster to stick up on your wall: 5 ways maths is used in real life

Enrolments in maths

And we think it’s really important to know that you can mix your passion with maths to create your dream job. Having maths skills can be super beneficial in these cool (and maybe unexpected!) gigs:

For more on maths, head to our Careers with Maths hub, or check out the study and career pathways of more maths experts over here.

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is Careers with STEM’s digital content strategist. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.


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