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Review article

Social Aspects of Mathematics Education

Saša Puzić orcid id ; Institute for Social Research, Zagreb, Croatia
Branislava Baranović ; Institute for Social Research, Zagreb, Croatia

Full text: croatian pdf 939 Kb

page 161-186

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The paper examines the dual role of mathematics education in society, on the one hand as an instrument of technological and economic development, and on the other as a mechanism for status attainment. Therefore, the authors discuss the role of mathematics education in raising economic competitiveness and productivity, in the (re)production of social inequalities, and its relevance for active citizenship. Drawing on the concepts of human capital and high status knowledge, it is asserted that the economic and status attainment aspects of mathematics education cannot be separated, since the actual (over)accentuation of the economic aspect strengthens the tendency for educational reproduction of social inequalities, which in the end can be economically dysfunctional. The authors emphasise the need for retreat from educational policies focused primarily on individual economic effectiveness – conceptualised through abstract holders of human capital – towards policies that combine the issue of human resources development with the question of structural inequalities in (mathematics) education and the wider society.


mathematics education, human capital, high status knowledge, active citizenship, mathematics achievement, educational policy, post-industrial society

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