UK: more maths = more success?

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced plans to give maths higher priority in British schools and make it a compulsory subject up until the age of 18. Sunak said on Monday that a better understanding of maths would improve the country's economic performance because the lack of maths skills is costing the country "tens of billions a year". Opinions in the national press are divided.

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The Guardian (GB) /

Schools need to snap out of their monastic past

Schools need to shift their priorities in teaching, says The Guardian:

“Of course, young people leaving school should understand the elements of maths. ... But they also need to know some history or geography, now disgracefully classed as optional in England and Wales at GCSE. They should be exposed far more to sport and the arts, which have been cut back in recent years. ... Personal finances, the law, and health should carry a far higher priority. Come to that, so should politics. Schools should snap out of their monastic past and teach the science of modern life.”

New Statesman (GB) /

Teach maths to show how politicians fudge numbers

The current government benefits from the people's lack of maths skills, says the New Statesman:

“The truth is that 'anti-maths' appears to be essential to this government, which makes extensive use of the backs of napkins to 'calculate' claims such as the idea that public-sector pay rises would cost everyone in the country £1,000. ... Or that Britain's new trade deals are worth £800bn (which the UK Statistics Authority called 'misleading'). The OSR's caseload for investigating the misuse of statistics in the past two years has been more than double pre-pandemic levels. ... It is absolutely right, then, that every British schoolchild is educated in maths until 18; the first module should be on how politicians fudge their numbers.”