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Maths still crucial to engineers

I was surprised to find in your leader ("A little maths goes a long way", TES, August 8) that my recent research claims "qualified engineers use only 5 per cent of what they are taught at university". The finding was cited as support for your contention that many people (including engineers, scientists and doctors) no longer need as much mathematical knowledge as they once did.

My report, in fact, claims quite the reverse. It states unequivocally that "mathematics is and will remain crucial", and addresses questions facing engineers that arise from the ubiquitous role that technology now plays.

The central claim is that technology has changed the kind of maths used and how it might be taught at university, not how much maths is required.

Professor Richard Noss

Institute of Education

University of London

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