The toughest question of all: why is Australia falling behind in maths?

Photo: Josh Robenstone

Photo: Josh Robenstone

Australia's maths achievements have been falling steadily for the past decade, including fewer students taking advanced maths. Great minds are pondering how to reverse this trend.

From the smartphone and credit cards in your pocket to the latest discoveries in the lab, mathematics underpins our society. 

The general public's perception that it's OK to not like maths is working against us. Countries that are more successful in maths value it more highly as a society. In countries like France and Germany, you would not hear that maths is not a good thing to pursue.  

Janine McIntosh, schools manager at the Australia Mathematical Sciences Institute

"It's built into the fabric of business, commerce, economics, it's the basis of science and all forms of innovation," explains Kaye Stacey, Emeritus Professor of Maths Education at the University of Melbourne.