UP to host Annual Meeting of International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education

Posted on July 03, 2019

The University of Pretoria (UP), in association with the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, is set to host the 43rd Annual Meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME 43) at its Groenkloof Campus from 7 to 12 July 2019.

The conference will be presented jointly by the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) and the African Mathematical Union (AMU), and will be themed “Improving Access to the Power of Mathematics”. PME 43 will be opened by the Honourable Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor.

The International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) is a collective of mathematics educators and researchers that gathers once a year to share work experiences and interests at the annual conference, which welcomes anyone that is interested in how students learn mathematics, how teachers teach mathematics, and how mathematicians, teachers and students do mathematics.

The conference is co-ordinated by an international committee that identifies a new location to host the annual gathering, with the aim of making it accessible to expert leaders and under-represented groups in the field of mathematics education. The conference is the most prestigious of its kind in this field.

Hosting the event will make significant strides towards achieving the educational targets set out in the National Development Plan (NDP) by strengthening the focus, facilitated access and investment in foundational mathematics education.

This area of research underpins one of the NDP’s priority areas, “Building a Future for South Africa’s Youth”, which centres on improving the school system by increasing the number of students achieving more than 50% in literacy and mathematics, increasing learner retention rates to 90%, and bolstering teacher training. It is on this premise that the Psychology of Mathematics Education international conference is convened.

The congress was first held in South Africa in 1998, and it is an honour for the country and the African continent to play host to such a highly regarded event for a second time. This year it is expected to attract about 500 international delegates including women researchers, black researchers, early-career researchers, postgraduate students, and researchers and educators from historically disadvantaged research institutions in South Africa. Researchers and educators from under-represented countries are also expected to be in attendance, as well as journalists, government officials and researchers, educators and students with disabilities.

In 2018, more than 690 delegates attended the conference in Sweden. The 2020 and 2021 conferences will be held in Thailand and Spain, respectively.

PME was established in 1976 at the International Congress on Mathematics Education (ICME3) in Karlsruhe, Germany. The aims of the conference were:

  • To promote international contacts and the exchange of scientific information in the field of mathematics education;
  • To promote and stimulate interdisciplinary research in the field; and
  • To further a deeper and more correct understanding of the psychology and other aspects of teaching and learning mathematics, and the implications thereof.

“Hosting such a renowned conference in South Africa will facilitate and broaden South African and African participation and [their] contribution to the global discussion on mathematical education,” says Dr Molapo Qhobela, CEO of the National Research Foundation (NRF).

It will provide a platform for South African and African scholars, educators, students and emerging academics to share their perspectives as well as interact and network with international leaders in the global mathematics education community.

An Early Researchers Day will precede the official conference programme, at which expert researchers will offer academic guidance to emerging researchers.

“UP is proud to welcome the mathematics education community of South Africa, the NRF, the Department of Science and Technology, esteemed dignitaries, global leaders, scholars, educators, researchers, journalists and other participants in this area of research to the Jacaranda City. We hope that the deliberations at the conference will contribute to further development of access to the power of mathematics – as highlighted in the conference theme – across the entire African continent,” says Professor Stephanie Burton, Vice-Principal for Research and Postgraduate Education at UP.

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