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Sun Dec 21 08:10:17 SAST 2014

It's no surprise that we are so terrible at 'maths'": iLIVE

B Barker, Johannesburg | 09 November, 2012 00:05
Prof Jonathan Jansen. File photo
Image by: Times LIVE

Jonathan Jansen's column yesterday, "We can do the maths", refers.

When I went to school in the 1960s we were taught mathematics in either the A or B stream. In the 1970s, I taught mathematics in both higher or standard grade.

Twenty years later, I went back to the classroom and the whole education system had become unwell, consumed by the "OBE" virus. Worse still, mathematics had become "maths", stripped of its dignity. In its truncated form, it had birthed a new "subject" called "mathematical literacy".

Not only did the term appear to be something of an oxymoron (it should be called " numeracy"), but the purpose of the subject was to enable students to understand life skills like how to buy a house and calculate income tax, hardly exploring the abstract science of numbers and space. No wonder we were placed 62nd out of 62 in one worldwide ranking.

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