Prepared by Bernard R. Hodgson, Secretary of ICMI, 1999.
A new Executive Committee of ICMI was elected at the General Assembly of the International Mathematical Union held in Dresden (Germany) in August 1998 and has taken charge as of January 1, 1999. The transition process was facilitated by a three-day working meeting in New York in February 1999 of the outgoing and incoming Presidents (Miguel de Guzmán and Hyman Bass) and Secretaries (Mogens Niss and Bernard R. Hodgson).
The new Executive Committee had its first meeting at the IREM of Université de Paris 7 on July 18-21, 1999. This meeting was in particular the occasion of a thorough study and discussion of a document prepared by the outgoing EC containing information, advice, and recommendations to this EC. Besides this meeting, the work of the EC was conducted by correspondence and electronic communication under the direction of the President and the Secretary.
It continues to be part of ICMI's general policy to encourage member states to establish National Sub-Commissions of ICMI. In 1999 Spain decided to establish a National Sub-Commission. A brief report about this was included in the ICMI Bulletin, No. 47, December 1999.
A number of countries have not (yet) appointed National Representatives in ICMI. These are Brunei Darussalem, Georgia, Greece, Mexico, Pakistan, Romania, Slovenia, and Uruguay. More generally, the need is felt to reinvigorate the contribution of National Representatives. In some cases, no news has been received for a number of years from the Representatives, so that it is unknown if the person is still active. There are instances where the rule adopted by the General Assembly of IMU in Kobe (Japan, 1990), according to which National Representatives should normally not serve for more than two consecutive terms, is not respected. A call for electronic addresses of National Representatives provoked a very slow reaction. As of the end of 1999, only 27 Representatives (out of a possible number of 72) had sent their addresses to the Secretary.
The transfer of ICMI assets from the outgoing to the incoming Secretary was accomplished in two stages. The major portion of the funds was transferred in January, some money being kept in Copenhagen for final expenses. Early March, all the ICMI funds had been transferred to Québec. Two accounts have been opened for ICMI, one in Canadian dollars and the other in US dollars. These accounts are located at the Caisse Populaire de l'Université Laval, Cité Universitaire, Québec (accounts numbers: 68 033 and 800 394).
The next International Congress on Mathematical Education, ICME-9, will be held in Tokyo/Makuhari, Japan, from July 31 to August 7, 2000. The International Program Committee was appointed in 1996 and is chaired by Professor Hiroshi Fujita, Tokai University, Tokyo, Japan. (A revised composition of the IPC appears in the ICMI Bulletin No. 46, June 1999, p. 31.) The IPC had its second meeting in Tokyo at the beginning of June 1999. The main part of the work of the Committee is being carried out electronically under the direction of Professor Fujita. Keeping on with the tradition of the recent ICMEs, the Japanese National Organizing Committee (NOC) for ICME-9 has proposed a program of financial support for participants from non-affluent countries. The money available for this program comes from a "Solidarity Tax" taken on all registrations, as was the case for ICME-8, from private sponsorship raised within Japan as well as from a grant of CHF 20,000 provided for ICME-9 by the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
As indicated in the report on ICMI Activities in 1998 (see ICMI Bulletin No. 46, June 1999, p. 17), the Society of Mathematics Education Researchers in one country had indicated to ICMI at some point that it was working to make its country submit a bid to host ICME-10. However at the beginning of 1999 ICMI was informed that this bid would not materialize. In January 1999, the Secretary thus wrote to all the National Representatives calling for bids for ICME-10. In spite of contacts with various countries during the first months of 1999, no official bid had been received when the EC held its annual meeting in July 1999. It was then decided to launch a new series of contacts, which led to the presentation in the fall of 1999 of a bid to have ICME-10 take place in Copenhagen in July 2004. This invitation, which was made on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, was officially accepted by the EC in December 1999.
The mounting and conducting of so-called ICMI Studies on crucial themes and issues in mathematics education were continued in 1999. The ICMI Studies are published by Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, under the general editorship of the President and the Secretary of ICMI. A synthesis paper giving basic information about the Studies since their beginning in the 1980s was prepared by the Secretary for the June 1999 issue of the ICMI Bulletin (No. 46, pp. 32-36).
After the publication of five volumes in the "New ICMI Study Series" during the period 1993-1998, it was felt appropriate to reexamine the content of the contract signed between Kluwer and ICMI. This was particularly timely as two new series editors were taking charge, and the publication of two new ICMI Study Volumes was under preparation. The negotiation with Kluwer expanded over several months and led to a new agreement (formally approved by the EC of ICMI early in 2000). New clauses in particular were adopted concerning the number of free copies made available to ICMI and to contributors to a volume, as well as the conditions under which individuals can order a copy of the volumes for their personal use.
No new Study conference took place in 1999. However progress was made concerning four different Studies.
ICMI Study 10: As indicated in the 1998 Annual Report, the Study Conference on The Role of the History of Mathematics in the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics was held in Luminy, France, in April 1998. The work on the Study Volume was essentially completed during 1999, under the editorship of John Fauvel, the Open University, UK, and Jan van Maanen, the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, co-chairs of the International Program Committee for this Study. The camera-ready copy of the text is due to be given to Kluwer in the beginning of March 2000 so that the volume will be ready in time for ICME-9 in July 2000. A report on this Study (including a picture of participants) has appeared in the ICMI Bulletin No. 47, December 1999, pp. 16-19.
ICMI Study 11: The Study Conference on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics at University Level took place in Singapore in December 1998. This Study will result in two publications, as indicated in the report which has appeared in the ICMI Bulletin No. 47, December 1999, pp. 20-22. The first of these publications is a special issue of the International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology (iJMEST) which will be available early in 2000. Work on the Study Volume to appear in the NISS Series is also under way. It is expected that this book will be published early in 2002.
Reports of these two studies will be presented at ICME-9.
ICMI Study 12: The next study in the series, The Future of the Teaching and Learning of Algebra, was initiated in 1998 by the appointment of an International Program Committee chaired by Professor Kaye Stacey, University of Melbourne, Australia (the composition of the IPC was given the ICMI Bulletin No. 46, June 1999, p. 35 - Rosamund Sutherland has since been appointed on the IPC, following the resignation of Kenneth Ruthven). The IPC has done work through e-mail during 1999, in preparation for its first meeting in January 2000. The Discussion Document for this Study will appear in the ICMI Bulletin No. 48, June 2000, and elsewhere. The Study Conference will take place at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in December 2001.
ICMI Study 13: The next Study has as a tentative title Mathematics Education in Different Traditions: A Comparative Study in Asian and Western Countries. The two co-chairs for this Study are Klaus-Dieter Graf, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany; and Frederick K.S. Leung, the University of Hong Kong. At the time of writing this report, the appointment of the other IPC members was under way, and the IPC was expected to begin its work during the first months of 2000. The corresponding Study Conference is planned to take place in Hong Kong in 2002.
A decision about the topic of following ICMI Study should be made by the EC during 2000.
The eighth South-East Asian Conference on Mathematics Education (SEACME-8) was recently held from May 30 to June 4, 1999, at the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines, with the theme "Mathematics for the 21st Century." A report on SEACME-8 has appeared in the ICMI Bulletin No. 47, December 1999, pp. 64-66.
Two meetings were previously recognized as ICMI regional conferences and are now under preparation: the second ICMI-EARCOME (East Asia Regional Conference on Mathematics Education) - also designated as the Ninth Southeast Asian Conference on Mathematics Education or SEACME 9 - to be held in Singapore in June 2002, and the symposium EM 2000 (Espace Mathématique 2000) to be held in Grenoble (France) from July 15-17, 2000, on the theme "L'enseignement des mathématiques dans les pays francophones au XXe siècle et ses perspectives pour le début du XXIe siècle." These meetings are announced in the ICMI Bulletin No. 47, December 1999, pp. 78 and 96-97.
It has further been decided to grant a meeting to be held in Dubna (Russia) from September 18-23, 2000, status as an ICMI Regional Conference. The theme of this All-Russian Conference on Mathematical Education is "Mathematics and Society: Mathematical Education at the Frontier of Centuries." An announcement can be found in the ICMI Bulletin No. 47, December 1999, p. 74.
The international journal L'Enseignement Mathématique, the official organ of ICMI since the inception of the Commission in 1908, was established in 1899 by Henri Fehr and Charles Laisant. On the occasion of the centennial of the journal, it was felt appropriate to hold a symposium with the aims of looking at the evolution of mathematics education over the last century and identifying some guidelines and trends for the future, taking into account, among other sources, the documents, debates and related papers having appeared in L'Enseignement Mathématique. This symposium, organized jointly by ICMI and the University of Geneva as a contribution to the celebration of the World Mathematical Year 2000, will take place in Geneva, the home of the journal since its birth, from October 20-22, 2000. The theme of the meeting is One Hundred Years of L'Enseignement Mathématique: Moments of Mathematics Education in the 20th Century. An announcement can be found in the ICMI Bulletin No. 47, December 1999, pp. 5-6. The Program Committee for this symposium is composed of Daniel Coray, Fulvia Furinghetti, Hélène Gispert, Bernard R. Hodgson and Gert Schubring.
ICMI continues to have four affiliated study groups, HPM (The International Study Group on the Relations Between the History and Pedagogy of Mathematics), IOWME (The International Organization of Women and Mathematics Education), PME (The International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education), and WFNMC (The World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions). Some formal information about these groups (constitution, rules, etc.) has appeared in the ICMI Bulletin No. 47, December 1999, pp. 37-52.
In 1992 ICMI established a Solidarity Program in Mathematics Education. The overall objective of the Solidarity Program is to increase, in a variety of ways, the commitment and involvement of mathematics educators around the world in order to improve the situation of mathematics education, in particular in those parts of the world where the economic and socio-political contexts do not permit adequate and autonomous development. This initiative thus aims at providing means which, together with institutional or other help obtained from various sources, may support concrete initiatives and activities so to foster solidarity in mathematics education between well-defined quarters in developed and less developed countries. Particular emphasis is placed on projects, which enable the activation of a self-sustainable infrastructure within mathematics education in the region, country, or province at issue.
The first stage in this program of international assistance was the mounting of a Solidarity Fund based on contributions by individuals, organizations, etc. The Solidarity Fund has received donations from various organizations and individuals in mathematics education for which it is most grateful. Being based on voluntary donations, the Solidarity Fund is kept separate from ICMI's funds.
An ad hoc committee, chaired by Colette Laborde (Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France) has been set up in 1999 by the EC of ICMI to review the functioning and the impact of the Solidarity Fund, after its eight years of existence, and to bring recommendations to the EC concerning its orientation and development.
Since the end of 1995, information concerning ICMI can be found on the ICMI-pages of the IMU-server on the World Wide Web. The pages are located at the address:
The EC of ICMI is aware of the fact that the information appearing on the ICMI web site is at times partially outdated and is working to improve this situation.