How can mathematics solve problems?

If Mathematics Education at school is the answer, what was the question? What is the primary goal of Mathematics education at schools?

My claim will be that

  • it is not one goal but at least three, and
  • these goals are moving targets.

To name three primary goals:

  • To present Mathematics as a part of our culture, and as a basis for modern key technologies, which presents answers to very basic, very natural questions, history, present, future.
  • To present Mathematics as a field that equips everyone with the ability to give answers (himself/herself!) to important problems and questions that occur in daily life.
  • To introduce into Mathematics as a field of study -- and to lay the foundations for possible (university or vocational) studies, in the Sciences, Engineering, or Mathematics itself.

All these goals change over time - so in shaping and designing the Mathematics school curricula we must be careful that the questions haven't changed fundamentally by the time our answers are being implemented....

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