Sums, geometry, algorithms… many pupils groan at the very mention of mathematics. France’s most recent education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, removed the often-unloved discipline from the common core teachings of French high schools in 2019. But with educators and economists ringing alarm bells about the importance of maths across multiple sectors, mathematics is expected to soon return to the classroom for all French high school students. We take a closer look.
Multiple studies show that French students aren’t learning maths as well as they used to. Compared to other European nations, France came in last in a recent study on the maths level of 600,000 students. On top of that, many French students have decided not to take maths classes. At the baccalaureat level, the last year of high school, some 40 percent of French students did not take a single maths class.
Maths is something we all use on a daily basis, be it counting our change or doing our taxes. But beyond that, understanding complex maths is essential in the sciences, in technology and for innovation. For engineers, it’s a must. Yet some students begin their studies with some serious handicaps.
For more analysis, we talk to Cécile Ouvrier-Buffet, a professor in science of education at UPEC (Université Paris-Est Créteil) who specialises in mathematics.
Source: France 24