This question relates to the teaching of maths and whether those teaching it have the appropriate degrees. The Deputy will note that the performance of students in Ireland in mathematics and science is relatively high by international standards. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, TIMMS, to which she is referring, found that only six from 39 countries obtained significantly higher mean scores than Ireland in mathematics, with none of those in Europe. The report also notes that there does not appear to be a direct relationship between instructional time and student achievement. Whereas many of the highest performing countries devoted more instructional time to mathematics than Ireland, not all did.
The science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM, policy statement and implementation plan which I launched in November 2017 aims to make Ireland the best in Europe in STEM subjects by 2026. Within the school system, new initiatives and curriculum developments will support greater participation and improved performance in STEM subjects. Curricular reform at junior and senior cycle will provide enhanced opportunities for teaching and learning in these subjects. This will build on the good progress already made. A report published in 2010 by the University of Limerick indicated that in a study of 51 schools, 48% of teachers included in the study did not have a major teaching qualification in mathematics. On foot of this, with funding from the Department, more than 1,300 out-of-field maths teachers will have gained a postgraduate qualification through the a programme led by EPI-STEM, the national centre for STEM education at the University of Limerick. Whereas the findings are not directly comparable, the TIMMS report suggests the position on out-of-field mathematics teachers taking classes in schools has improved compared with that in 2010.