Difference Between Maths Lit and Technical Maths

There is often a bit of confusion among parents and pupils when it comes to learners choosing their school subjects. This is because there is minimal understanding of the importance of the choice or the difference between Mathematical Literacy and Technical Mathematics. Here is a breakdown of the difference between the two.


If you're at the point in your high school journey where you have to choose your subjects, it's important to know the ins and outs of the subjects you can choose.

Here is a breakdown of the difference between Maths Literacy and Technical Maths.

Mathematical Literacy

Mathematical Literacy is a type of Math that deals with common practical problems like budgeting and interest calculations. It's topics of application include Finance, Measurement, Maps, plans and other representations of the physical world including Data handling.

The skill sets you may stand to gain in choosing Mathematical Literacy include: Interpreting and communicating answers and calculations. Numbers and calculations with numbers, Patterns, relationships and representations.

The disadvantage with choosing Mathematical Literacy is that you may be unable to study at university if you are looking to pursue a university degree leading to careers in the fields of accounting, medicine, engineering, physics, chemistry, IT.

Technical Maths

Technical Maths on the other hand is Math for a tradesman. This form of Maths places more focus on application. This form of Math covers material designed for technical careers or general studies and is best suited for students who need to study particular mathematical topics.

Topics will include measurement, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, graphs and finance. These are presented on an introductory level with an emphasis is on applications.

The disadvantage of Technical Maths is that once you have chosen it as a subject, you will only be able to study at a technical college after high school. Many universities don't recognize technical math. 

However, the advantage of choosing Technical Math as a school subject is that the is a high demand for technical skills in South Africa.

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