The Power of MathematicsWed Mar 17 2021. 3 min read
Mathematics has long been recognised as a critical filter and has traditionally been a gateway to technological literacy and higher education. On such grounds alone, one could argue that there is a national obligation to ‘insure’ that all students have access to high-quality mathematics instruction
Our ultimate goal as educators is to teach our students to become independent thinkers and positive contributors to their communities. They are expected to eventually become global citizens, cherished members of society, and responsible adults. Yet large numbers of children are leaving schools lacking basic skills in numeracy.
We can begin their common defence by claiming that these are adult skills and not the child’s classroom skills. However, this defence is flawed. The fact is that adult numeracy skills and the children’s numeracy skills are one and the same. It is estimated that in the United Kingdom, approximately 2.4 billion pounds is lost in revenue each year, caused by the poor numeracy skills of workers. As expected, the loss to the individual is also quite measurable and so too the loss to the stakeholders.
Statistically, a person with poor numeracy skills is twice as likely to be unemployed or to remain unemployed for long periods of time or obtain lower-end paying jobs. They are twice as likely to become a teenage parent, regardless of gender and also twice as likely to suffer from chronic depression (Teacher Network, March 2012). The trend is the same and even worse in the third world nations across the globe.
To fail children in mathematics, or to allow mathematics to fail them, is to close off an important means of access to society's resources because in today's world, economic access and full citizenship depend crucially on mathematics and science literacy.