By Dr. Herman M. Lagon
MATHEMATICS education in the Philippines has been a cause for concern among educators and the nation. As a math and physics professor, I aim to make these subjects engaging and enjoyable, but like many other math teachers, I face ongoing challenges. Traditional teaching methods and digital innovations struggle to captivate students, and the pandemic has further complicated the situation. Throughout the years, students’ lack of foundational skills from kindergarten to college has decreased their interest in math-related courses.
It is disheartening that the Philippines ranks lowest in math performance according to TIMSS 2019 and PISA 2018 assessments. To address this urgent issue, the Philippine educational system must implement comprehensive reforms in math education.
First and foremost, reducing the teacher-student ratio is crucial. Teachers can provide more individual attention by having fewer students in each class, enabling students to develop a deeper understanding of math concepts. Additionally, investing in teacher training and offering competitive salaries will attract highly qualified educators who are passionate about improving math education. Equipping teachers with innovative teaching methods and providing necessary support is vital.
Another essential aspect is addressing infrastructure gaps in schools. Creating additional classrooms and well-equipped laboratories will allow students to have practical, hands-on experiences that ignite their interest in math. Building an environment that fosters active participation in learning is a significant investment in the future of math education.
To spark students’ interest in math, emphasizing real-world applications of mathematical concepts is crucial. Making math relatable by connecting it to everyday life experiences cultivates curiosity and problem-solving skills. Incorporating project-based learning and interactive activities helps students understand the practical significance of math. Continuous teacher training is also essential in this regard.
Strong administration and governance in educational institutions are equally important. Effective leadership plays a crucial role in shaping the success of math education. Administrators should prioritize math as a core subject, allocate resources wisely, and implement policies encouraging collaboration among teachers, students, and parents.
Lastly, fostering partnerships between educational institutions and the private sector can drive transformative change. The business community can contribute through sponsorship programs, mentorship initiatives, and scholarships, providing students and teachers with additional resources and opportunities to enhance their mathematical abilities.
Improving math education in the country requires the collective effort of all stakeholders. Our shared responsibility is to ensure that future generations are equipped with the mathematical skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly complex world. By reducing the teacher-student ratio, improving teacher training and compensation, investing in infrastructure, emphasizing real-world applications, enhancing administrative practices, and fostering partnerships, we can pave the way for a brighter future in math education. Let us embrace this challenge together and empower the next generation with the knowledge and passion for mathematics that will shape our nation’s future success.
Dr. Herman Lagon fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice. He is a physics and math professor of ISUFST, an educational leadership student of USLS, a retired Principal of Ateneo, and an alumnus of UP, UI, and WVSU.