The Importance of Numeracy and in Particular of Statistics Literacy for South Africa

Proceedings of the sixth international conference on teaching statistics, Developing a statistically literate society
Volmink, J. D.
International Statistical Institute

The development of a Revised National Curriculum Statement is seen as a key project in the transformation of South African Society. The thrust of the project is towards achieving "a prosperous, truly united, democratic and internationally competitive country with literate, creative and critical citizens leading productive, self-fulfilled lives in a country free of violence, discrimination and prejudice." (Curriculum 2005, Learning for the 21st Century 1997, Department of Education, Pretoria.)<br><br>Curriculum reform in South Africa thus faces a two-fold challenge. The first is the post-apartheid challenge which requires developing the knowledge, values and skills base for South Africa's citizens necessary for greater social justice and development. Secondly, there is the challenge of participating in a global economy. This raises questions about the knowledge, values, skills and competencies for innovation and economic growth for the 21st Century.<br><br>The view taken by the curriculum designers is that the best route to greater social justice and development is through a high-knowledge and high skills curriculum.<br><br>This paper will explore the meaning and importance of numeracy and in particular of statistical literacy, within this context. The paper will focus largely on the relationship between values and mathematical/statistical literacy within the South African context.

The CAUSE Research Group is supported in part by a member initiative grant from the American Statistical Association’s Section on Statistics and Data Science Education