Maths literacy really counts in education

I read with great interest the question from Thandi Nontenja, "Minister Pandor: What is mathematics literacy?" in Sowetan of January 14.

I read with great interest the question from Thandi Nontenja, "Minister Pandor: What is mathematics literacy?" in Sowetan of January 14.

Mathematical literacy is a wonderful subject intended to make the masses what it says - mathematically literate.

It seeks to empower the masses who would in the past never have had the desire to learn mathematics.

To be literate in maths one must have basic maths skills and know them well enough to do them without looking them up or using a calculator.

It was never the intention of the subject to empower pupils to go on to tertiary institutions to study engineering or any of the curriculums in which pure mathematics is a prerequisite.

The pupils should have been informed at the beginning of Grade 10 that maths lit would not give them entry to university courses.

To answer Nontenja's question, this subject is taught in many countries. In Australia, the US and the Netherlands it has been offered for years.

Local universities are all doing research on the subject. Academics from the Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education at the University of the Witwatersrand and also the University of KwaZulu-Natal have published a lot of papers on maths lit.

I encourage Nontenja to do a Google search on maths lit and she will find that it is not a wishy-washy subject invented by Pandor.

Willem Smit, Cape Town

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