The number one goal of academic programs is to prepare youth for their future careers. In a world driven by technology, the integration of data and mathematics is commonplace in nearly every career path. And as technology continues to expand opportunities for robotics and artificial intelligence in the workplace, our human talent needs to adapt to fill critical thinking and problem-solving roles. And a good foundation in mathematics plays a significant role in developing these skills.
The Role of Mathematics in Workforce Readiness
Outside of the IB education system, many public schools are loosening the requirements for mathematics. By contrast, the IB curriculum is going the other way. Many political and business leaders around the world recognize the value of providing more demanding mathematics study in high school.
While there are those who oppose the call for more math, arguing that most high-paying and in-demand jobs do not require more than a 9th or 10th-grade level of mathematics, the diligent study of mathematics has value far beyond the ability to solve an equation. It’s an age-old question and plight of every high school algebra student wanting to know when they will use this type of mathematics in the real world.
The answer is that studying mathematics builds a variety of skills that are not singularly attributed to mathematics. The ability to solve problems and the fortitude to push through difficult challenges are skills first learned in mathematics. And the demand for high-level critical thinking and problem-solving skills is present and growing in every type of career field.
How IB Mathematics Curriculum is Meeting the Challenge
The goal of the IB is to make sure that students are prepared for future academic and professional careers by equipping them with skills that are desirable to leading universities and employers. The IB reviews and updates the curriculum every seven years to align with current trends in the business world and the future of work. The 2021-2028 IB mathematics curriculum is largely focused on expanding critical thinking problem-solving skills to meet the demands of a technology-based world.
One thing that is new in the 2021-2028 curriculum set is a greater emphasis on flexibility for students and schools to decide what is taught and how, as well as identifying individual pathways to mathematics achievements. The IB program understands that AI will play a big role in the future of work, and they have added mathematics foundations that will help prepare students to work with this type of data.
Final Thoughts on Mathematics to Prepare the Future Workforce
No other academic subject elicits quite as much confusion as mathematics. Beyond applied mathematics like budgets and economics, it’s hard for many people to see the practicality in advanced mathematics. Proponents of high-level mathematics study already know what we are beginning to see. The dedication and analytical skills that it takes to learn mathematics are the building blocks for essential skills in critical thinking and problem solving, which are the hottest, in-demand skills in the workforce today and in the future.