Numeracy and Literacy Skills: Core to our Education System and Life

The government wants kids to know their times tables and grammar better. Are they right or can you get by without them?

For me, grammar and numeracy are two of the most important topics to learn in school, or at least, that is what my teachers continuously stressed to me. They seemed to convey the message that to be skilled in both of these academic areas are almost as essential as the air we need to breathe.

“how sophisticated we are as people, in the academic world, will be reliant on our abilities to use basic numeracy and literary skills well”

From an early age, we are taught that how sophisticated we are as people, in the academic world, will be reliant on our abilities to use basic numeracy and literary skills well. Maths and English are two of the core subjects that all people should understand the basics of, the third being science. A person’s level of academic intelligence seems to rest on their ability to speak eloquently and not have to take long pauses when trying to times 12 by 5. From the amount of research that I have looked at online, I cannot stress enough how many employers have stated how important basic English language skills are to secure a decent job.

As I have touched on above, grammar is a fundamental skill that everyone has the right to learn. Even at GSCE’s, students are reminded of the importance that the quality of their written work will have on the result of their exams, whether it is English language or literature, history, religious studies or even geography, 5% of a student’s mark will be based on their quality of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Looking further into the workplace, studies have shown that the government should continue to push the message that English is crucial to a person’s chance of employability. According to the President and COO of ‘Moore Staffing Services’ Mike Moore: “of the 50-100 resumes that we receive each day… close to 90% of those resumes fall short of being perfect. Some of them need minor fixes to grammar… but many of them are poorly written or poorly designed”.

He raised the question: “are the poor quality of resumes that we see so frequently due to the failure of our schools to teach students proper written language skills? The chances of getting interviews are slim with poorly written resumes”. I guess that answers the question on the importance of grammar and why it is vital that teachers stress this message to the children that they teach at the earliest age that they can.

“success is all down to the way that they have been educated at an early age”

Maths also bears equal importance to the quality of a child’s education. In 2016, the government introduced a “new measure” that “all children will have their multiplication skills checked at the age of 11” in order to make sure that every child received an excellent education. Going by in the world without having an effortless ability to understand maths and the rules of English language to a basic degree will also effect a child’s level of confidence and self-esteem.

Being able to know things on the spot is a useful skill that will take a person far in life, and knowing basic numeracy skills will be impressive to employers who are looking to test all levels of an interviewee’s academic ability. The best speeches also tend to be rated on a person’s level of sophistication to use language. Audiences tend to be impressed and ‘won over’ by a speaker who uses a range of complex words, and whether they express their ideas in a fluent and sophisticated way. Overall, their success is all down to the way that they have been educated at an early age.

After all, the Education Secretary in 2016 stated that “maths is a non-negotiable of a good education”and we will not be able to achieve the success that we want in the workplace, and in the world overall, if we do not have a good level of grammar and mathematical knowledge.

Overall, I think that the government should continue to stress that we cannot (and should not) underestimate the importance of grammar, and our level of numeracy knowledge. With the support of ever growing companies such as ‘TeachFirst’ (the organisation that works to achieve equality of education for children and teachers alike in England and Wales), we should look at learning these basic rules as interesting and enjoyable, so that we learn more; achieve more; and actually reach our full academic potentials.

Olivia Morel

Featured image courtesy of Gotcredit via Flickr. Image license found here.  no changes made to this image.

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