Educational gender inequality… against boys?

Hungary – by Géza Kovács-Dobák

In a world where we fight against sexism and for the equal treatment in any life event of women, the following might come astonishing or unwelcoming. However, within our modern educational system boys tend to perform worse than their girl counterparts in school. Boys at a young age might be disorganised and restless, even noisy, and our education system tends to view this as an intolerable behaviour. The set of beliefs that we centre our education around, with the teaching profession being mainly a female role, is excluding boys from educational fulfilment.

We not only underestimate the male imagination, we also discourage it. As Ralph Fletcher, writing instructor, phrased: Too many teachers take the “Confessional Poet” as the classroom ideal. This does not go with the “boyish” behaviour and we wish not to tolerate it. But if boys are constantly subject to disapproval for their imagination and enthusiasm, they are more likely to become disengaged from studies and will lag further behind.[12]

In the US boys are five times more likely to be expelled from pre-schools as girls. If girl behaviour will remain a golden standard for grad schools and pre-schools, boys will be further left behind in the future. In an ever more knowledge-based economy, this is not a recipe for a successful society.

Originally published by European Student Think Tank, 2011 European Charlemagne Youth Prize winner

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