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Capacity & Networking Project (CANP), The Mathematical Sciences and Education in the Developing World


CANP is a major development focus of the international bodies of mathematicians and mathematics educators (International Mathematical Union, IMU & International Commission on Mathematical Instruction, ICMI) in conjunction with UNESCO and International Congress of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, ICIAM. The project is a response to Current Challenges in Basic Mathematics Education (UNESCO, 2011).

CANP aims to enhance mathematics education at all levels in developing countries so that their people are capable of meeting the challenges these countries face. It will develop the educational capacity of those responsible for mathematics teachers, and create sustained and effective regional networks of teachers, mathematics educators and mathematicians, also linking them to international support.

CANP consists of an ongoing series of Programmes in a different developing region each year.
The first programme CANP 1 Edi Math was held in Mali with participants from across Sub-Saharan Africa in September 2011 and was supported by UNESCO, CIMPA and ICIAM. CANP 2, Central America and the Caribbean was held in Costa Rica in August 2012. It was supported by the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC), UNESCO, ICIAM and CDC. The third CANP 3 South East Asia was held in Cambodia in 2013 and was supported by CDC, RECSAM, SEAMS and CANP 4 East Africa was held in Tanzania in September, 2014. CANP 5 Andean Region and Paraguay will be held in Lima, Peru in February, 2016.

Each programme has, at its centre, a two-week workshop of about forty participants, half from the host country and half from regional neighbours’. It is be primarily aimed at mathematics teacher educators, but each programm will also include mathematicians, researchers, policy-makers, and key teachers. Each workshop has associated activities such as public lectures, satellite workshops for students, or exhibitions reaching out to a board audience.

The coordination of the workshop is undertaken by a group of eight (IPC) with equal participation by mathematicians and mathematics educators from the region and from the international IMU/ICMI/ICIAM community. The Local Programme Chair and the Programme Coordinator are members of the IPC. Each member of the IPC has to come from another country. The IPC and the Local Programme Chair are appointed by the ICMI EC.

The Programme Coordinator is appointed by the ICMI EC in consultation with IMU.

After the appointment of the Local Programme Chair, the Programme Coordinator and the IPC, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) is appointed by the Local Programme Chair, the Programme Coordinator/ Manager (in agreement and consultation with the ICMI-EC).

The Local Organising Committee consists of the national/ country contact person (one each per participating country) and members of the host country. The LOC selects in together with the Programme Coordinator/ Manager the participants for each CANP programme. 

The program, and in particular the workshop, builds on existing activities in the region and does not seek to reproduce or compete with existing development programmes. It includes a follow-up after one year to ensure continuity and for evaluation. A post-workshop and a 1-year report are  produced for each programme. ICMI will ensure that the experience of earlier programmes will be used for the design of later ones.

The Capacity & Networking Project is a major international initiative in the mathematical sciences in the developing world to help exchange information, share the state of the art research, and identify strategies for addressing barriers to enhance mathematics education and to conduct to building a sustainable network for policy makers, scholars and practitioners across those targeted regions.

CANP Review

CANP Review

The Issue

There have been four CANP Workshops spanning 6 years.

ICMI has been spending a lot of money funding the CANP project. The initial conception had an evaluative component built into each CANP that has really not happened in any formal way. Is it cost effective? What else, or what differently, could we do?

Our experience so far has shown us that the different regions have responded differently to the CANP opportunity, and that individuals make a huge difference one way or the other.

ICMI EC is receiving legitimate calls for funding for follow-up activities from each CANP and needs to decide on a sensible, adequate and sustainable response. With limited resources and other eligible regions, we need to decide how best to spend the available money to both ensure the money already spent has maximum effect, but also to meet global responsibilities.

How best can the aims of CANP be met?

CANP Review Proposal

A proposal to review CANP has been presented to the ICMI EC and been accepted at the EC meeting in Macao in June 2015.

It was proposed to review of CANP as a whole (rather than individual evaluations of each CANP) for which a Review Committee should be established. The committee members are Michèle Artigue and Bill Barton (as the originators and CANP Managers of the programmes in Mali and Cambodia), Angel Ruiz (as one of the CANP ICMI Liaisons), Ferdinando Arzarello (as ICMI President as well as being a CANP ICMI Liaison), and Lena Koch (for her knowledge of all five CANPs, her international development experience, and her financial management experience). Additionally Abraham Arcavi as ICMI SG is invited as ex-officio of the Review Committee.

The following Terms of Reference were proposed:

·        Evaluate the whole CANP programme for how well it meets the original aims and its other impacts.

·        Evaluate the whole CANP programme for value for money and financial efficiency and sustainability.

·        Review and update the aims, description and criteria documents for CANP.

·        Make recommendations on how existing CANPs are further supported.

·        Make recommendations on new CANPs, or other CANP activities.

Lena Koch is coordinating the process of the CANP review.

As a first step during January and June 2016 the participants, organizers and IPC member answered two online surveys regarding their CANP experiences.

The first results of the surveys were presented at the EC meeting in Berlin in July 2016. The presentation can be found here. 

In July 2016 an ICME13 discussion group had two fruitful meetings regarding CANP and its future.

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