Short-changed in life skills

25th August 2006 at 01:00
If the CBI thinks, as reported this week, that competing with low labour costs in China and India needs employees who can write fluently, spell correctly and work out basic calculations in their heads, it is living in the past.

What everyone must now be able to do is to communicate orally and, using a keyboard, by computer. Of course, being able to understand those attempting to communicate with you is equally, if not more, important.

Numeracy should not mean being able to check your change. It should mean being able to put a calculation into a form which can be entered into a calculator or a computer, and to recognise whether or not the answer obtained is reasonable. These are the essential life skills which are the very basics, and which should be acquired by everyone at primary school.

At secondary school, they must be developed by pupils learning to speak and produce written material which will maximise the understanding of whoever they are communicating with. In mathematics, they must be able to check the accuracy of answers obtained and to use mathematical ideas to formulate predictions.

Stewart Fowlie

Granton Road

Edinburgh

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now