Do British schools need more maths? This article seems to think that no…

An article with which I rather disagree : “For Britain’s pupils, maths is even more pointless than Latin
Our ministers remain gripped by the cult of maths. But China’s classrooms don’t hold the key to the future of the British economy”
It appears that the author thinks that mathematics = the content of O level (or even A level) maths textbook. He writes

“Of course children need to be taught the rudiments of number, proportion and probability, as they do to read and write. But there are few occupations that need maths at the level I studied, and they can learn it as a language skill.”

Yes, perhaps maths is taught badly in some (or many) cases. But perhaps more importantly the curriculum needs to be revised to bring out the creative, logical, interesting side of mathematics more. The difficulty of course is that mathematics is a difficult subject and it requires, simply put, toil to master a lot before you can enjoy it. But surely something can be done – at least to convey its beauty and abstractness, even to students which will never get to that level themselves. Students need access to the “big picture” of mathematics, in order to be fascinated by it. If they do,then they will have less resistance and more drive to learn the difficult “quantitative skills” that the economy (and individuals wishing to survive in it) needs.


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