Mathematicians in Schools

The CSIRO has recently launched a “Mathematicians in Schools” initiative (as part of its broader “Scientists in Schools” program), to support applicants with a mathematical background who are interested in working with primary and secondary school teachers in the classroom.

(Via the AustMS)

The mathematics change plan at VU

Alasdair McAndrew crunches through the numbers of the proposed “Mathematics Change Plan” at Victoria University, which plans to cut the number of mathematics staff in half, while reducing mathematics teaching by about ten percent, and finds the numbers do not add up: the actual number of teaching hours put in by the staff (2550 hours/year)  is about 20% larger than is stated in the plan, and with the proposed cuts (from 7.5 FTE to 4.5), it would not be possible to cover all these hours with staff and casuals, given that the university limits casual teaching to 20% of the total.  Also, the current salary costs of the school are less than 75% of the income earned from enrolments in maths and stats subjects, which sits oddly with the claim that the cuts in mathematics are due to enrolment declines (there are indeed declines in the number of CS majors, but this is a rather small fraction of enrolments in mathematics-related classes in all).

These findings are consistent with previous claims about the faulty data behind the change plan.  Hopefully the administration will make some effort to address these claims before proceeding further with the plan.