This paper features an anecdotic narration in which a fictive narrator, addressing the author of this paper, explains the functional role of mathematics education in the maintenance of the bureaucratic society. Drawing from critical philosophy and critical mathematics education, it is argued that the objective of mathematics education as realised in schools is to teach students to understand, accept, follow or at least ignore pre-defined rules as they are required for the bureaucratic administration of modern society. The theory of the narrator is underpinned with explanations that students offered in an interview study conducted by the author. Rather than supporting his alternative theory on a strict methodical basis, the narrator illustrates its explanatory strength in its confrontation with the experiences of students. The ‘provocation’ does not only lie with the narrator’s theory about the nature of mathematics education but with the fact that reality, as it is presented by the students, fits in all too well with the narrator’s explanations.
"The true purpose of mathematics education: A provocation,"
The Mathematics Enthusiast: Vol. 15
, Article 16.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umt.edu/tme/vol15/iss1/16