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ERIC Number: EJ848504
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1062-9017
Can the Ideal of the Development of Democratic Competence Be Realized within Realistic Mathematics Education? The Case of South Africa
Julie, Cyril
Mathematics Educator, v14 n2 p34-37 2004
As is the case in any country there is a constant search to improve the mathematics offerings presented to school-goers in South Africa. The activity surrounding this search was intensified after the attainment of democracy. The primary aim of this search was to establish a mathematics curriculum that would result in productive learning and the mastery of the goals set for the curriculum. Explicitly it is stated that school education should be a mechanism to contribute towards the development of "a participating citizen in a developing democracy [who has] a critical stance with regard to mathematical arguments presented in the media and other platforms" (South African Department of Education, 2003, p. 9). This goal was already proffered during the struggle for liberation against apartheid and encapsulated in the alternative school mathematics program during the latter periods of that struggle. The alternative mathematics curricular movement found expression in People's Mathematics (PM). People's Mathematics was an independent development in South Africa during a particular historical moment but shared commonalities with the varieties of Critical Mathematics Education. The broad umbrella goals of People's Mathematics were "political, intellectual and mathematical empowerment." It is with these goals in mind that Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) was found to be a viable approach to school mathematics with which the People's Mathematics movement could "live." One of the features that stands out in the modern school mathematics curricula in terms of the goals that are offered is the development of democratic competence. This competence is an individual's (and a collective's) ability to make sound judgments about issues that structure and steer the affairs and practices of humankind. A question that can be asked is whether the goal of the development of democratic competence can be realized within the Realistic Mathematics Education framework. In this article, the author contends that RME falls short as a paradigm in this regard and offers suggestions on how RME can contribute more to the goal of development of democratic competence. (Contains 1 figure.)
Mathematics Education Student Association, University of Georgia. 105 Aderhold Hall, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-4194; Fax: 706-542-4551; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa