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Colombia: Mathematics Education and the Preparation of Teachers. Consolidating a Professional and Scientific Field

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In this chapter a succinct panorama of some of the background, structure, development and limitations of the initial and continuing preparation of Mathematics teachers in Colombia is presented. Particularly, some aspects of the political, social and, in some cases, academic transformations that have affected Mathematics teacher preparation will be mentioned. Also, the current tendencies in initial and graduate education will be considered. Finally, we will indicate some achievements and current challenges facing research in Mathematics Education and teacher preparation that are facilitating a consolidation of this discipline as a professional and scientific field in the country.


  • Mathematics teacher preparation
  • Research in mathematics education
  • Mathematics teacher education
  • Colombia

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  1. 1.

    To provide language to unify the different branches of Mathematics and other sciences, the concept of “system” was proposed as the basis for organizing the curricular processes in Elementary and Secondary Education, emphasizing that the approach to any mathematical system should include at least three components: the concrete, the symbolic and the abstract. For details see Vasco (1994).

  2. 2.

    Law of Higher Education or Law 30 in 1992, and the General Law of Education or Law 115 in 1994.

  3. 3.

    For a detailed synthesis see Obando (2004).

  4. 4.

    Basic competencies seek to generate conceptual constructions and the capacity to utilize scientific and humanistic knowledge in processing, interpreting and solving problems related to the surroundings, school environment, and science and technology.

  5. 5.

    Workplace competencies are oriented to the development of a set of knowledge and techniques that prepare the individual to be a productive member of society. The general competencies are cross-cutting and transferable to any context in which they are present in any academic or workplace activity. On the other hand, specific workplace competencies refer to particular contexts related to activities characteristic of a group of professions.

  6. 6.

    Citizenship competencies refer to the development in the individual of a set of values, actions and behaviors needed by society, a critical and reflexive nature in facing situations that present themselves in the ongoing practice of citizenship, and an active participation in the life of the community.

  7. 7.

    Law 30 in1992, Law 115 in 1994 and Law 1188 in 2008 (also known as the registration of qualified Higher Education programs).

  8. 8.

    Thus the Feminine Pedagogical Institute in Bogotá, became the National Pedagogical University in Bogotá, and the Male Normal School in Tunja became the Pedagogical and Technological University in Tunja.

  9. 9.

    Along these lines, and for a few years, some universities that offer programs for the initial preparation of Mathematics teachers supported the creation of programs for Upper Secondary Mathematics in Normal Schools whose graduates were then given a Bachelor’s Degree by the university.

  10. 10.

    One indication of the need for Mathematics teachers is that the great majority of students in the last semesters of the Mathematics teacher preparation programs have already been hired by private schools before they graduate.

  11. 11.

    A program developed by the University of Valle, the National Pedagogical University, and the District University “Francisco José de Caldas”.

  12. 12.

    A network made up of the universities of Atlántico, Cartagena, Cauca, Caldas, Magdalena, Nariño, Quindío, Tolima, the Technological of Pereira, and the Pedagogical and Technological of Colombia.

  13. 13.

    This number, still insufficient, is much great than the three who graduated before 1990.


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Authors and Affiliations


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Correspondence to Edgar Alberto Guacaneme-Suárez .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Appendix: Meanings of Acronyms

Appendix: Meanings of Acronyms


Colombian Mathematics Education Association


Colombian Association of Faculties of Science


Colombian Association of Faculties of Education


Inter-American Development Bank

CENDOPU Univalle:

Documentation Center, University of Valle


National Council of Higher Education


Inter-American Committee on Mathematics Education


International Center for Education and Human Development Foundation


National Council of Accreditation


Colombian Institute for the Development of Science, Technology and Innovation


Regional School of Mathematics


Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Math


Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics


National Ministry of Education


Media and Technologies for Information and Communication


Colombian Network for Modeling in Mathematics Education


Latin American Ethnomathematics Network


Colombian Mathematics Society

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Guacaneme-Suárez, E.A., Obando-Zapata, G., Garzón, D., Villa-Ochoa, J.A. (2017). Colombia: Mathematics Education and the Preparation of Teachers. Consolidating a Professional and Scientific Field. In: Ruiz, A. (eds) Mathematics Teacher Preparation in Central America and the Caribbean. SpringerBriefs in Education. Springer, Cham.

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