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“Modern Mathematics ” in Costa Rica

Barrantes and Ruiz (1995b) suggest that until 1964 there had not been significant evolution in (secondary) Mathematics. The main topics were arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry. Differences that did exist from one program to another were mainly in how to teach the Mathematics that was offered. The change in 1964 was the product of a reform that, for several years, had been on the international panorama: the so called “modern” Mathematics reform or “New Math”. Between 1960 and 1970 development in the country was inspired by the great mathematicians of the moment, mainly those united in the French group called Nicolas Bourbaki.

New Universities

The 1970s saw the expansion of Costa Rican universities in response to the postwar demographic growth.

In 1971 the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (TEC) was created on the model of the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico. The National University (UNA) was founded in 1973 and its School of Mathematics in 1974. In 1977 the State Distance University (UNED) was created to provide opportunity and access to higher education for persons living far from the capital, at risk populations, among others.

Because of a shortage of secondary Mathematics teachers, in 1992 Teaching degrees in Mathematics were created at UNED, UNA and UCR. This was done in a formal agreement with the MEP and with World Bank funds. Graduates of those programs are still teaching in the universities.

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