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UAE students report second-highest levels of anxiety about math globally: Survey

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Students in the United Arab Emirates are more anxious about mathematics than those in any country apart from the UK, according to a survey.

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Mathematics provokes anxiety in 25 percent of UAE students, the survey said, with female students more stressed than males.

In the UK, 26 percent of students reported feeling anxious about their numerical literacy, while US students were third most anxious at 23 percent.

The survey of 1,783 students across 20 countries was carried out by education technology company Cuemath.

Longer hours could potentially be a factor in reports of anxiety levels.

Young people in the UAE study for longer than those in 78 other high and middle-income countries, according to a comprehensive 2018 report.

The research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tested between 4,000 and 8,000 students from 79 countries.

Despite studying for the longest hours, students in the United Arab Emirates fell just below the average for mathematics scores.

In the OECD study, UAE students scored 435 out of 600 for mathematics, when the overall average was 489.

Girls worldwide reported having higher math-related anxiety than boys in the Cuemath survey, with one-quarter of girls reporting stress compared to one-fifth of boys.

Anxiety peaked in grade nine, where the average age is typically 14 years old.

“These statistics should be of great concern to parents and children in the UAE,” said Cuemath chairman Manan Khurma in a statement.

Khurma believes that the anxiety is largely down to the way mathematics is traditionally taught.

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