Skip to main content

ICMI's Work with Developing Countries

ICMI has a substantive interest in ensuring that its resources and influence extend to any country that is able to mobilize the elements of its mathematics education enterprise to make productive use of this connection. In line with this goal, and cognizant of issues of ‘voice', is the building of connections and relationships across countries and communities of mathematics education. The following outlines ICMI's main work to enable developing countries' activities to become part of the international community of mathematics education represented by ICMI, through its regular activities and those of its Affiliat Organizations, its ICME-Solidarity Fund program and its collaboration with other bodies, more especially with the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and with UNESCO.

Capacity and Network Project (CANP)

CANP is a major development focus of the international bodies of mathematics educators and mathematicians (International Commission on Mathematical Instruction, ICMI and International Mathematical Union, IMU). CANP  aims to develop the educational capacity of those responsible for mathematics teachers, and create sustained and effective regional networks of teachers, mathematics educators and mathematicians, and linking them to international partners.

The International Congresses on Mathematics Education (ICME's) and Solidarity Fund Grant Program

Interests of developing countries in ICMEs are reflected through themes of some of the scientific programs, and through the choice of venue of the congresses. Participation of mathematics educators from developing countries in the congress is actively supported by the award of congress participation grants, financed through a “Solidarity Tax" built into the regular registration fees, as well as other specifically raised funds. For example, at ICME-9 in Japan, donations amounted to 8% of the total registration fees, and supported 96 participants from 37 countries. Also ICME-10, ICME-11, ICME-12, ICME-13, ICME-14, ICME-15 had ICME Solidararity Funds which allowed on average about 100-250 participants from developing countries to participate at the ICME congresses.

The ICMI Studies

The ICMI Executive Committee has followed a range of strategies with respect to the ICMI Studies to enable voice, participation and connection with developments, interests and concerns of mathematics education in developing countries. Central is the representation of experts from developing countries on the International Programme Committee in charge of the Study; moreover some of the Study conferences are taking place in developing or emerging countries. For example, the conference for ICMI Study 15, on Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, took place in Brazil in 2005; that for Study 17 on Technology took place in Vietnam in 2007; the Statistics Study conference (18) has taken place in Mexico in 2008. Choice of themes is also being extended to include interests and concerns of developing countries. For example, a Study (21) announced at ICME-11 in Mexico is focused on (Re)sourcing teaching and learning mathematics in multilingual contexts.

ICMI Regional Conferences

Regional conferences are key to extending ICMI resources and connecting with activity across many developing country contexts. Of particular interest here are the EARCOME, AFRICME, and EMF regional congresses.

ICMI Affiliate Organizations (ICMI AO)

In order to foster international collaboration and exchanges in mathematics education, the ICMI organizational outreach includes multi-national organizations with interest in mathematics education, each operating in ways consistent with the aims and values of the Commission. Some organizations shave specific programs regarding developing countries. For example, the annual PME congress has a special fund, the Fund, which supports some participants from developing countries.

ICMI Solidarity Fund

The ICMI Solidarity Fund was established on the proposal of its President Miguel de Guzmán. Its purpose was to help the development of mathematics education in countries in which there is a need for it that justifies international assistance. The Solidarity Fund was based on private contributions by individuals, associations. In 2011 the fund closed and was transfered to the regular ICMI funds and since 2011 most ICMI activities for developing countries are funded by the ICMI funds.

The Commission for Developing Countries (CDC)

ICMI contributes to the work of the Commission for Developing Countries (CDC).

ICMI membership

Many developing countries do not have an IMU membership and so, in agreement with its Terms of reference, the ICMI EC allows a membership to ICMI for developing countries without IMU membership. This membership allows countries to cooperate with ICMI and participate in various ICMI activities.