Sunday, 13 April 2014

Casually dismissing innumeracy? It's unacceptable

Zoe Williams' article in yesterday's Guardian has wound me up.
There are an estimated 800,000 unfillable [coding] jobs in the EU.  Ah, you don't like numbers? Then you are going to find this story really difficult. 
How about I start this post by apologizing for the fact it has words. Would you prefer me to make my case with a few pictures?

It's pretty much a given in our society that you'll be able to read. (That's clearly a challenge for dyslexics, but that's a whole other topic). So why is it OK to be so casually dismissive of anything that requires even the most basic levels of numeracy?  People often talk as if being "bad at maths" is some sort of badge of honour, or an indicator of greater levels of creativity, sensitivity or imagination.

When you read the article it's actually positive about tech, and I think the Guardian's decision to describe Tech camp for kids as "terrifying" was supposed to be light-hearted. But come on - it's no more terrifying than a camp for, say, football or drama.

Want more people to fill those 800,000 jobs? You'll have to get more kids engaged with and enjoying maths, science and computing classes. And we have to stop giving cultural clues every five minutes that it's just fine to give up on anything numerical if you don't find it easy.

1 comment:

Thomas Eichberger said...

I totally agree. It is often a honor to be bad in math, but if one is bad in music, then it is terrible. All those capabilities are needed.
And children should enjoy to learn, ok, I'm dreaming...