The theme, Mathematics: Gearing Towards K to 12, for the First MTAP National Conference and Seminar-Workshop in Mathematics is very timely. By June, we will begin our new system of education. We have high hopes that with the new system, our graduates will be comparable to those of our ASEAN neighbors.
In the more than 30 years that I have been working with teachers and students, there have been many reforms but each of them failed to make any improvement in the achievement of our students. In fact, the results kept going down. The main reason why reforms did not succeed is that most of us did not own the changes. We hear teachers saying, "I am only doing what I have been told to do." For K to 12 to succeed, a critical number of stakeholders, especially us, teachers, must own the changes. We have to make the decision to make K to 12 succeed, that its success will begin with us.
We have to be convinced that we, Filipinos, can be great. Our students who go to other countries to compete make us proud not only in mathematics but practically in any area they compete in.
Most of us must have seen "Stand and Deliver", the film about Mr. Jaime Escalante, a very poor Bolivian boy who by Determination, Discipline and Hard Work became a sensational math teacher in the U.S. By daily telling his students they can do it, they ended up passing the Advance Placement calculus exam. In our Souvenir Program is a short story of a teacher who is because of the many Escalantes on his path, an Escalante to his students now.
We can do the same. Let us set our sights to the future with Determination, Discipline and Hard Work. Let us picture to ourselves our students taking their place side by side with other ASEAN students. If we work hard, when the ASEAN nation becomes a reality in 2015, our students will be better in Mathematics and can compare with others. Let us begin by thinking of what we have to give to our students. We cannot give what we do not have. The mathematics achievement of our students can only be what we want it to be. That is up to us.