What do you want to be when you grow up?
This is a question many of us were asked when we were younger, I remember wanting to be a Pilot, my father wanted me to be a Marine Biologist. I was in Grade 7 when a teacher asked this question and I said an Actor.
I eventually chose to become an Accountant aspiring to qualify as a Chartered Accountant as well as start my own business.
Why am I saying all this, well all the above careers require maths infact any career path you chose requires you to know some sort of maths whether it be an Engineer, Doctor even a ‘gaatjie’ on the taxi. Maths is all around us.
I was shocked to read that more than 300 schools in the country do not offer maths to grade 12 learners because of ‘lack of demand’.
We celebrate matriculant pass rates at the end of the year but is quantity really better than quality. If you look at the statistics above it means that we are producing less doctors, engineers and other qaulified people who are needed to ensure a greater economic benefit to our country. Nowadays you have to also think of being your own boss and maths is needed, think of budgets and cash flow forecasts how is your money working for you. Think geometry is not important think again, how are you going to know how to fit the maximum amount of cash in your safe to utilise all available space – answer is maths :-D.
For the life of Pi I cannot remember what COS means yes I know its a SIN but I’d rather be TANning on the beach than break my mind over that now. Ahh yes it was part of Trigonometry or rather Trickernometry as we had a crip sheet with all the formulae and this made things so much easier come exam time, draw the four quadrants fill in the signs and bobs your uncle, you are half way from solving for x.
Maths should be fun, explanation through games and visualistion the teacher should be excited about the subject, I think this is also a factor in getting more children wanting to pursue maths further as at some schools the teachers are battling with the content themselves.
How do we combat this problem, start at the root develop your child from a young age emphasise the importance of maths but do not overpower them, give them the freedom of choice too. Career guidance should be a subject in all schools visualising different careers offers children the insight and allowing them to ask questions in ultimately making the right decisions for themselves.