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Innumeracy blights Britain, says charity

05/03/2012 Joanna
Poor numeracy skills and a negative approach to mathematics across the UK are harming the country's economy, a new independent charity has claimed.

The newly established independent organisation National Numeracy has been created to promote numeracy skills across the UK and it believes that with good quality mathematics teaching this decline can be reversed.

Following a YouGov study commissioned by National Numeracy, the charity has revealed that there are a total of 17 million adults in England alone who struggle with numeracy.

Over the last eight years this figure has risen by around two million, with 49 per cent of the working population now struggling with poor maths ability.

According to the charity, this is more than three times the five million adults who struggle with literacy and urgently needs to be addressed.

Countdown presenter Rachel Riley is just one person who has offered support to the National Numeracy cause, saying that if children are engaged in mathematics from a young age then they are far more likely to be successful.

"We need to find imaginative ways to switch them on to maths and teach them to be proud to be numerate," she said.

The chair of National Numeracy and former chief executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, Chris Humphries, commented: "It is simply inexcusable for anyone to say 'I can't do maths'. It's a peculiarly British disease which we aim to eradicate.

"It doesn't happen in other parts of the world, and it's hitting our international competitiveness. With encouragement and good teaching, everyone can improve their numeracy."

The YouGov study found that while 80 per cent of adults would be embarrassed to admit to being bad at reading or writing, just 56 per cent would feel the same away about their maths skills.

Last year, the government's Skills for Life survey found that around 50 per cent of adults had numeracy skills comparable to those of primary school pupils.

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801309539-ADNFCR
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