Mathematical Learning and Its Difficulties in Eastern European Countries

  • Csaba CsíkosEmail author
  • Szilárd András
  • Attila Rausch
  • Anna Shvarts


In this chapter a review of the main features and difficulties of mathematics learning in Eastern European countries is provided. Setting out from historical, geographical, and political considerations about the definition of what Eastern Europe may mean in the context of mathematics education, we provide a general overview of curriculum shaping and the outcomes of these school systems. In Eastern European countries, there are some features of mathematics education that might be labeled as the heritage of “socialist mathematics education.” Among these features (and stereotypes), the role that mathematics plays in the system of school subjects, the characteristics of mathematics teacher education, and the importance of talent development are discussed.

Without discussing individual countries’ school systems, we have tried to capture the very essence of the cultural and educational traditions that still influence what difficulties mathematics educators and students face when teaching or learning mathematics. Albeit that some countries have introduced radical educational reforms recently, becoming successful according to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) surveys, most countries in the region can still be cited as examples of what people in other regions of the world consider “Eastern European.”


Eastern Europe Talent development Low-performing students School reform International Mathematical Olympiad 



This research was supported by the Content Pedagogy Research Program of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Csaba Csíkos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Szilárd András
    • 2
  • Attila Rausch
    • 3
  • Anna Shvarts
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of Primary and Pre-school EducationEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Faculty of Mathematics and Computer ScienceBabeş-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania
  3. 3.Faculty of Education and PsychologyEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Faculty of PsychologyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  5. 5.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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