Advance maths study really is in decline in NSW

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Inspired by GeekinSydney‘s recent post about HSC subjects, I took a deep dive into HSC study statistics this weekend. What I found was a bit scary for anyone who is looking for a future mathematically inclined workforce. Since 2001, when maths stopped being compulsory, the numbers of students studying maths have dropped dramatically. But it isn’t just maths. It is also the sciences, especially the hard sciences, and the proportion of students sitting the higher maths subjects. Back in 1991, Maths extension 1 (known then as 3 unit maths), which is the course you need to do to do a mathematical subject such as engineering at university, was taken by 27% of students studying English. Now it is taken by 12% of students studying English. Maths extension 2 (known then as 4 unit maths) which is generally a prerequisite to be an actuary, was taken by 8% of students studying…