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Mathematics Education in Latin America and the Caribbean

The 2nd ICSU Regional Consultation for Latin America and the Caribbean in March 2009 identified mathematics education as a primary area of concern with an urgent need for improvement in Latin America and the Caribbean. In particular, it reiterated the importance of intensifying the relationship of professional mathematicians with teachers of mathematics, both at the initial teacher training and during the job training.

The ICSU ROLAC Science Plan on Mathematics Education stresses that, although mathematics and sciences are primary sources of lifelong learning and important for the progress of civilization, Latin American and Caribbean children are not being taught at an adequate level. Compared to international education standards, Latin American and Caribbean countries on average score very low, especially in assessments of children's abilities to make practical use of their mathematical knowledge. Thus, there is an urgent need to improve the education of students, which needs to be based on a better education of teachers.

The document argues that the success in achieving this goal is closely linked to an efficient communication between stakeholders on a national and also on a regional level. The folllowing detailed objectives are recommended:

  • Reinforce the link between research mathematicians and school teachers;
  • Develop suitable data for the evaluation of performance;
  • Define sets of minimum standards throughout the region for the primary and secondary school levels;
  • Use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to make more resources available to teachers and students;
  • Find strategies to improve mathematics and language literacy at the same time;
  • Continue the involvement of the mathematics education faculty in supporting mathematics teachers in pedagogy and didactics.

The document concludes by arguing that mathematics education should no longer be seen as a privilege for some, but as a right of all students.


The Science Plan for Mathematics Education in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Reality to be Transformed is available in English and Spanish.

Authors: Carlos Bosch, Lilliam Álvarez Díaz, Suely Druck, Raymond McEachin

Click here to download the English version.


Click here to download the Spanish version.

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