Sheetrit: State to blame for low level of math

Kadima MK blames lack of funding in state education for lack of scholastic success amongst high school students entering college, drop outs.

February 22, 2011 04:05
1 minute read.
MK Meir Sheetrit

MK Meir Sheetrit 311 Ariel. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Student shortcomings in math, physics and biology are the direct result of the state’s neglect to fund such fields sufficiently, MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima), chairman of the Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee, said on Monday.

“When the education system stops investing money in mathematics, physics, and biology studies by the 10th grade, it’s no wonder that when students get to university they have no knowledge and drop out of their studies,” he said.

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Sheetrit added that “mathematics, physics and biology are the basis of every scientific research study, and without investment beginning in elementary school, we will find ourselves regressing decades in study. Israel’s most important resource isn’t natural gas or oil, rather it’s human capital.”

Also on Monday, the Council for Higher Education issued a report that found the nation’s universities are severely deficient in the teaching of mathematics.

A glaring shortcoming also exists in students’ pre-university mathematics education, which the report says is reflected in high freshman drop-out rates, and low grades in introductory courses. It also found that a disproportionately few students choose to major in mathematics and that those who do typically lag behind their foreign counterparts.

Among the report’s recommendations is a proposal to increase mathematics bachelor’s degree study tracks from three years to four, to allow for an initial year in which students are taught basic material to fill gaps left from their high school education. The council added that such a proposal could result in even fewer students majoring in mathematics than today.

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