Global math literacy
SST III, Estefania Montemayor National High School, Dumarao, Capiz
WE OFTEN hear that not many l ove mathematics as subject. We also heard that there are those who love math. But what really is the status of mathematics literacy globally? What is mathematics literacy? Love is a universal language yes, but will it dictate the fate of math?
Mathematics literacy is the capacity to identify, understand and engage in mathematics and to make well-founded judgments about the role that mathematics plays, as needed for an individual’s current and future private life, occupational life, social life with peers and relatives, and life as a constructive, concerned and reflective citizen.
I have researched and found no concrete study about the Philippines stake in mathematics literacy compared to others like what Australia did. I feel that this will help shape our today’s students future. In a study conducted in Australia, Year 4 and Year 8 students are slipping backwards in maths and science, leapfrogged by students in Kazakhstan, Slovenia and Hungary, as the nation continues a 20-year tumble down international academic rankings.
The alarming results from the four-yearly Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study sparked calls for Australia to “wake up,” reject short-term fixes, raise the effectiveness of teaching, and improve retention and training of qualified math teachers. Australia has realized that the 20-year slide in math learning is a national challenge that requires a national response. And they cannot afford another 20 years of stagnation.
Their answer is not to do more of the same. Between one-quarter and one-third of students are not proficient enough to apply the basic math knowledge they need to navigate everyday life and
are in danger of being left behind in the global race for jobs of the future. There is an estimated 10.2 million Filipinos abroad, of which it cannot be clarified as of yet how many are with jobs as per their career, and how many are just skilled with no formal education, and how many are working are mathematically proficient like engineers, computer experts, etc.
The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), the longestrunning, large- scale international assessment of mathematics and science education in the world, conducts yearly study on the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) and recently released a study showing East Asian countries maintaining their 20-year lead for pupils aged 10 and 14. In the study, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan continue to dominate international rankings for math.
The results showed that today’s students are more engaged and confident in math compared to some of the top- performing countries. Mastering these skills will ensure there is no limit to a student’s ambition and will ensure our future workforce has the skills to drive the future productivity and economy for this country.
From my experience, all world-class education systems around the globe highlighted today have one thing in common – they recruit, train and support world- class teachers who work collaboratively together. If we have fellow Filipino math teachers out there who have what it takes to be world-class, I call on you to share your strategies and techniques. It is time we map out the Philippines in the global scene and secure the future of our students. (