The Department of Education in the United Kingdom has announced it will be spending up to £41m (around HK$423m) to implement the “South Asian mastery approach to teaching maths” in over half of England’s primary schools.

The approach, which the UK government said “is used by some of the leading performers in maths in the world, including Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong,” is set to become a standard fixture in more than 8,000 primary schools in England.

Photo: Zoe via Flickr.

The funding will be spread out over the next four years and spent on training an initial 700 teachers as well as on textbooks.

See also: Chinese teachers blast UK students as undisciplined in British school experiment

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said on Tuesday, “the significant expansion of the south Asian maths mastery approach can only add to the positive momentum, with thousands more young people having access to specialist teachers and quality textbooks.”

“I am confident that the steps we are taking now will ensure young people are properly prepared for further study and the 21st century workplace, and that the too-often heard phrase ‘can’t do maths’ is consigned to the past.”

The ‘maths mastery approach’

The maths mastery approach is “marked by careful planning, ensuring no pupil’s understanding is left to chance,” according to the Department of Education’s press release. It involves children being taught as a whole class, an in-depth understanding of mathematical structure, and high quality textbooks.

File Photo: Wikicommons.

The UK government said that according to recent international tests, the percentage of 15-year-olds who were unable to perform basic calculations in areas that adopted the “maths mastery approach” was 10 per cent lower than England.

First used in England in 2014, the approach was introduced to schools after a “pioneering” teacher exchange programme between England and Shanghai.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.