If you want your children to be the great decision-makers of the future, encourage them to focus on improving maths and science skills at school.
That's the advice from Dame Athene Donald, the new president of the British Science Association, at next week's British Science Festival.
According to the BBC, she will say children who lack basic skills in these subjects could end up being “bamboozled” in adulthood, and are more likely to make bad decisions as a result.
On Thursday, she'll tell an audience at Bradford University:
Citizens need to be empowered to make good decisions in their private lives – be it about vaccinations, mobile phone masts or climate change.And the best way to prepare a young person for making these wise choices is by ensuring they are interested in, and comfortable with, the fields of maths and science.
She'll add that at the moment, there is a problem with the quality of teaching in these areas at both primary and secondary school levels, with people being forced to choose the science or arts route as early as age 14.
In other countries, such as those using the baccalaureate system, students are forced to learn maths up to age 18.
“Too often we find ourselves apparently in opposing camps – and our culture these days always makes it seem as if the scientists are the outsiders,” she will say.
We may be mocked if our knowledge of Shakespeare or Austen isn't perfect, but it is still OK to say "I could never do maths at school".