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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Rishi Sunak's Plan To Make Maths Compulsory In UK Schools Has An Indian Inclination

Rishi Sunak's Plan To Make Maths Compulsory In UK Schools Has An Indian Inclination

At present, students studying in UK Schools have the option to drop math at the age of 16.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday said an "anti-maths mindset" is holding the economy back, as he announced a review of the subject in the country. Mr Sunak will hold a meeting today to ensure that students till the age of 18 get some kind of math education at schools, without an A-Level in the subject compulsory. He also suggested people should not make jokes about being bad at maths in order to change attitudes to numeracy.

At present, students studying in UK Schools have the option to drop math at the age of 16. However, the British PM wants to change that. In his first policy speech of 2023, Mr Sunak talked about wanting to make the study of maths compulsory for all students up to the age of 18.

"We're one of the few countries not to require our children to study some form of maths up to the age of 18. Right now, just half of all 16-19-year-olds study any maths at all," Mr Sunak said in his first speech of 2023. "In a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, letting our children out into that world without those skills, is letting our children down. So we need to go further," the Indian-origin prime minister added.

Indian connection

Notably, Mr Sunak's attempt to emphasize the study of mathematics in Britain is being linked to his Indian heritage. The British PM is of Indian origin and needless to say, there is a lot of emphasis on the study of mathematics in India.

Students in the country study maths compulsorily from class 1st to class 10th and it is stereotypically perceived that Indian students are better at maths than those in Western nations. India also has a legacy of extraordinary mathematicians and scholars with immense knowledge and contribution to the field of mathematics.

Not just in India, other Asian nations also have a fetish for maths while ignoring other subjects. A majority of Indian parents ensure that their children study all subjects well but the performance in mathematics is always non-negotiable and emphasised.

Parents and teachers often equate being good in school with being good at maths. They also believe that being successful in that one subject will become synonymous with success in life and earning a livelihood.

Many also called the UK PM's decision as ''the Indian parent in Rishi Sunak talking.'' Talking to NDTV when Mr Sunak first announced the move back in January, an Indian-origin parent in the UK said, ''I relate to this because I feel some of the basic skills include Math. Everyone should have this skill, even though they do art on anything else. I am not surprised it came from Sunak. He relates to India where we do a lot of Math.''

According to a release from 10 Downing Street, around eight million adults in Britain have the numeracy skills of primary school children. Many young people feel high anxiety about maths and even a strong dislike towards the subject. This lack of maths skills has been estimated to cost the UK £20 billion per year.
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