“We do have to do the math”

In the past few weeks and month 2 articles on the topic of math have struck me — Both of them address the importance of mathematics for society and every single one of us.

The first article was “Teaching mathematics — Time for a ceasefire” which was published in the economist not too long ago. The very first sentence nailed it: “If the world’s education systems have a common focus, it is to turn out school-leavers who are proficient in mathematics. … better maths results raises GDP and incomes.” There is no shorter and better way to express this thought!

The second article has been published a few month ago in SALON under the title “5 rules for being a grown-up” and puts a spotlight on the things, that are truly important for growing up. The selection is interesting — Two points concern health: “We have to move” (Exercise is important) and “We have to feed ourselves” (We have to be able to cook for ourselves instead of feeding ourselves with Fast Food). One point addresses social competence: “We have to think about other people” (This basically introduces Kant’s categorical imperative). The remaining 2 points focus on the most important lessons we should take with us from school: “We have to be able to write a coherent sentence” and “We have to do the math” — Those last two points coincide with the fact, that in every country on earth there are two subjects, that are mandatory for every student: The mother tongue and mathematics.