Maths skills today

Whilst a key sentiment behind the Puluwan concept is to create an open maths tool for children in the developing world to use freely, it is also intended to address the decline of maths skills across all age groups in the developed world. Recent research has indicated some alarming effects of inadequate maths skills.

The UK Government’s 2011 Skills For Life survey found that 24% of adults in the UK have the numeracy skills of a 7-9 year old or below, compared with 21% in 2003. It also recorded that 42% of adults who felt they had weak maths skills believed that their shortcomings affected their job prospects.

The link between maths skills and career performance was supplemented by a 2013 research paper by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which found that children who were good at maths at 10 went on to earn 7% more at 30 than an “otherwise identical” child.

A July 2013 article by Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at Cisco Systems, highlighted a discrepancy in the USA between a report finding that men over the age of 25 held 87% of the Bachelor’s degrees in engineering fields, whilst another report indicated that high school girls earned more math and science credits than boys did, and their GPAs (Grade Point Averages) aggregated across math and science classes, were higher than boys’.

Puluwan plans to ask users to – voluntarily – provide us with their age, gender, nationality and income group, to allow the analysis of aggregate mathematical performance against these indicators, with the aspiration of establishing a global benchmark for maths assessment, and publishing the results of this research on a regular basis.