Article Subject is :
Are Indians better with numbers?
Too much of a generalisation
by Lalita posted on 27 Mar 2008 11:56 hrs
To make such a sweeping and generic statement will be incorrect. The educated Indians are generally better at mental accounting because the system of education in India relies on children learning the multiplication tables by rote. This comes handy when you are shopping or doing chores that require some basic calculations. Then there is a general emphasis on parents wanting their children to do well in mathematics because it is a passport for getting into engineering, which is every parents dream. To this extent it is not uncommon to see most children taking special tuitions for mathematics. This is not true in the West, where there is no pressure on the children to choose any particular stream of education as there are job opportunities in plenty in other fields also. This may explain at the superficial level, the Indian???s ability to do basic calculations better. As regards Indians doing well in the software industry, it is a miniscule and not statistically significant percentage of the Indian population. Because our record in other fields is below average, by default our performance in the IT sector seems significant. For every bright student in mathematics in a class there are atleast another four who are average or below average. At best we may be able to claim that we are not worse than others.
Perhaps it is the rote learning of the ures from early childhood in ancient times thats resulted in this mental quickness? It is not only the way Indian shopkeepers rapidly tot up figures that is so fascinating. When i visit my local kirana store, I am always amazed at the fact that the guy scribbles out long bills without ever checking labels for current prices! To date, he has never erred. And he will do this while answering the phone, calling out instructions to sales boys, and handling customer queries. Talk about multitasking!