UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday made math classes mandatory for students till age 18. He said this was the time for the country to reimagine its approach to numeracy. As Chancellor, Sunak said he introduced multiply – a new programme to give hundreds of thousands of adults the opportunity to get the basic numerical skills they need.
The UK is one of the few countries not to require its children to study some form of maths up to the age of 18. Right now, he said, just half of all 16–19-year-olds study any maths at all.
Sunak said in a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, letting children out into that world without those skills, is letting the children down.
“So we need to go further,” he said, adding that his government is now making numeracy a central objective of the education system.
That doesn’t have to mean compulsory ‘A’ level maths for everyone, Sunak said. “But we will work with the sector to move towards all children studying some form of maths to 18.”
Delivering a speech for setting out his priorities for 2023, Sunak said just imagine what greater numeracy will unlock for people – the skills to feel confident with finances, to find the best mortgage deal or savings rate, the ability to do the job better, and get paid more, and greater self-confidence to navigate a changing world.
Sunak, who took charge as Prime Minister on 24 October 2022, said improving education was the best economic policy, the best social policy, and the best moral policy. “And that is why it is this government’s policy,” he said.
The UK Prime Minister listed his priorities for the year – halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists, and stop the boats (Illegal migration).
The UK has witnessed double-digit inflation for the last few months, which has raised the cost of living for the people. The growth too has slowed down. Global financial institutions have predicted slow growth for most of the European economies including the UK.