Here, we look at the enrolments of students in undergraduate mathematics courses in a number of countries. The data show various increases and decreases and we suggest some common reasons for the fluctuations. These include students’ goals of a secure and well-paid job, government actions and the state of the economy in the country concerned. We consider several ways in which departments have successfully approached downturns in numbers by their interactions with students by introducing new teaching approaches, using technology and establishing mathematics centres.
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