In England, a new national curriculum is apparently being introduced for secondary schools. Two of the things in it are the 12-times table and fractions. But why are we still teaching either? The reason decimal was invented (by a Dutchman which is where “going Dutch” comes from) is to get rid of the mind-wrenching nonsense of trying to work out what 1/3 of 7/8s is. As for the 12-times table, I don’t see why you need it when you have the metric decimal system – based on 10.

A far more productive and useful skill to be taught would be estimation.

I don’t say this specifically because estimation is such an issue for IT projects. I say it because it is so useful generally. I am in the process of having my garden landscaped, and it occurred to me that I have no idea how long my garden actually is. And furthermore I wouldn’t have a clue at estimating it. I would have to measure it myself or go back to the requisite paperwork.

Having said that, if I underestimate the bark chips I will need, that would simply be viewed as an inconvenience. Not a catastophe in the way that unexpected events on IT projects tend to be interpreted.

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