It has been suggested frequently in the past that the Commission should establish some ICMI sponsored awards aiming at recognizing exceptional contributions to mathematics education. Such a suggestion was in fact part of the "Testament/Will" prepared by the previous Executive Committee of ICMI for the current one. An ad hoc committee of internationally renowned people was formed in 1999 to bring recommendations to the Executive Committee of ICMI as to whether such an initiative was appropriate and how to implement it. These recommendations, which were received at the EC meeting held during ICME-9, were positive and the EC is now working on defining some of the parameters for these awards.
An hypothesis currently being considered by the ICMI EC is the establishment for the time being of two awards, one recognizing a major program of research on mathematics education during the past ten years, and the other for life-time achievement in mathematics education. The awards shall consist of a certificate and a medal, and they shall be accompanied by a citation. They should have a character similar to that of a university honorary degree. Each award shall be announced in each odd numbered year
An authored paper describing the work that the award recognizes would be published, in the year of the award, in L'Enseignement Mathématique. The citations, and a perhaps abbreviated version of the L'Enseignement Mathématique articles, would appear in the ICMI Bulletin and on ICMI website (where a list of all past recipients would be maintained).
At each ICME, the medals and certificates of the awards given since the previous ICME will be presented, for instance at the Opening Ceremony. Further, the awardees will be invited to present special lectures at the ICME. The travel and local expenses for the awardees shall be programmed into the budget of the ICME where they are recognized. (It is foreseen that two awards may be presented at ICME-10, and four at following ICMEs.)
An Award Committee of six persons shall select the awardees. The members of the Award Committee should be scholars of international stature, and include mid-career as well as senior scholars. They should have a broad knowledge of work in their fields, be well networked to the research community, and be respected for balanced and well grounded judgement.
The terms of appointment shall be for eight years and non renewable, with three of the members being replaced each four years, at the time of the ICME's. One of the three continuing members shall then also be named as Committee Chair. To initiate the process, a Committee of six shall be appointed, three of them with eight year terms, the other three with four year terms. Members of the ICMI-EC shall be ineligible for membership in the Award Committee.
The work of the Committee shall be conducted by correspondence, phone, and opportunistic meetings. No budget is provided for face-to-face meetings. The Award Committee, once appointed, shall be completely autonomous. Its work and records shall be kept internal and confidential, except for the obvious process of soliciting advice and information from the professional community, which should be done by the Committee Chair. The Committee has full authority to select the awardees. Its decision is final. Once made, that decision is reported, in confidence, to the ICMI-EC, via the President of ICMI.
The active members of the Award Committee, except for its chair, shall be kept unknown to the public. Only at the time when the terms of Committee members expire shall their names be made public.
Members of the Award Committee shall be appointed by the President of ICMI, after consultation with the Executive Committee and with other scholars in the field. The Executive Committee alone shall be informed of the membership of the Award Committee.
The ICMI Executive Committee welcomes reaction and comments, which should be forwarded to the President or to the Secretary.