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Education Minister wants math in school-leaving exams

EDUCATION Minister Dušan Čaplovič wants to make mathematics compulsory for students who begin secondary school in September 2015.

EDUCATION Minister Dušan Čaplovič wants to make mathematics compulsory for students who begin secondary school in September 2015.

“Introducing a new compulsory subject for the leaving exam shouldn’t affect students already attending secondary schools – that wouldn't be fair,” Čaplovič told the TASR newswire. “We’re thinking of 2015,” clarified the minister.

Čaplovič has been focusing on the idea of introducing math as a compulsory subject for school-leaving exams, called “maturita” in Slovak, ever since he took up office. The ministry wants to introduce more math and natural sciences into the curriculum to better prepare students for their exams and life.

“Math teaches children to think logically,” Čaplovič concluded.

Former education minister Martin Fronc (Christian Democratic Movement, KDH) would be more in favour of making any of the subjects included in “natural sciences” compulsory, as they were from 2005 on (until this was halted by former education minister Ján Mikolaj in 2006).

“I'm all for kids taking their ‘maturita’ exam in math, but I don’t want it to be compulsory,” he said, as quoted by TASR. “It is a pity that ex-minister Mikolaj abolished it [natural science as compulsory for the maturita]. It is exactly the compulsory maturita from a natural-science subject that can boost the logical sense and practical skills of students,” Fronc said some time ago.

He dislikes the fact that although these subjects form a fundamental part of the school curriculum, they are not covered in school-leaving exams.

Math was compulsory until 1989. Nowadays, students have to take their leaving exams in Slovak and one foreign language, plus two other subjects of their own choosing. Math was chosen as a voluntary subject by only 14.6 percent of all secondary school graduates this year, of which about 140 failed and had to retake the test in September.

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