"A movement was definitely needed in the area of girls’ education in the Philippines, in the way girls’ schools saw themselves, their identities, mission, goals and methods in delivering education.
We took up this challenge. Miriam College is a school whose history is replete with stories of great courage and fearlessness. Taking on something new is in our DNA. Our school was founded by the Maryknoll Sisters of New York. The New York Times calls them “Trailblazers in Habits.” We were delivering Quality Education and were accredited at the highest level, with our graduates achieving in college and in life. But what seemed missing was a vision and philosophy fully reflective of a girls’ school. We could do better. We needed to take pride in our Identity! To go beyond being “a school that hasn’t turned co-ed” or “a sister school to a boys’ school”.
As Principal of the high school then, I was in a strategic location and the time was ripe. Many people were listening. What was needed? To raise expectations for our girls; to listen to them; to build on their strengths; to provide them with mentors and role models. I found the high school fertile soil. Fertile for the explorations, learnings, failures and successes we needed to get to the path we wanted to take.
I started with one project - Girls at the Center – that would bring the focus back to our students. Our girls who were at the center of our work, our research, our teaching. It is based on the premise that girls have so much to say, so many ideas to pursue, so many projects to create. So now we take time off every year to celebrate our girls: their identities, their efforts, their successes, passions and interests.
We make use of new pedagogy such as blended learning, experiential and investigative project learning, collaboration with peers, and most of all, we make our girls see themselves as sources of knowledge.
Let’s give our girls women they can look up to, and let us help bring out their strong, unfettered voices – because only then can they truly BE what they SEE. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I hope society makes it its mission to empower our girls and encourage them to thrive in a world of equal possibilities. A world where they grow up to be women without glass ceilings and double standards. A world where there are as many women inventors, engineers, presidents and CEOs as men".
except from "When Little Girls Grow up to Become Little Women"
by Rosario Oreta-Lapus, Ph.D.
Global Forum on Girls' Education
National Coalition of Girls Schools Conference 2016, New York