Leaving Certificate students should receive bonus points for high achievement in mathematics, according to an expert group.

A report published by The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, which was convened to advise the Government on raising proficiency in the subject, outlines a series of proposals.

It says there is an urgent need to build positive attitudes towards maths.

Proficiency in mathematics is vital to the economy because it underpins many other disciplines, such as science, technology, business and finance the report says.

Irish students currently rank 16th out of 30 OECD countries.

It has proposed a range of measures, including bonus points for college entry, to encourage more students to take the subject at higher level.

The report says teachers need more professional development and it has called for a more imaginative approach to teaching maths in schools.

However, the group says there is also a broader need to build positive attitudes towards the subject.

It wants training in the workplace as well as support for parents in the form of maths classes.