UNESCO Report: Boys At Greater Risk Of Repeating Classes Than Girls

New Delhi, 11 April 2022: According to a recent Global Education report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), boys are more likely to repeat primary grades than girls in 130 out of 142 countries around the world. While girls are more likely than boys to never attend school, boys in many countries are at higher risk of failing to advance and complete their education. Experts pointed out that prolonged school closures and the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on learning loss and school dropout are likely to worsen the existing gender disparities unless steps are taken to address the learning needs of all.

UNESCO Global Education Report – Key Highlights

Details of Gender Disparity in Terms of school education The report titled ‘Leave No Child Behind: Global Report on Boys’ Disengagement from Education’ highlighted that no less than 132 million boys of primary and secondary school age are out of school. 
Reasons Behind the Greater Number of Male Drop-Outs From Schools Some of the reasons are:

  • Poverty and the need to work can lead boys to drop out. 
  • Gendered norms and expectations can also affect their desire to learn. 
  • In particular, certain subjects can run counter to traditional expressions of masculinity, making them unpopular with boys. 
Possible Solutions To Prevent Boys From Dropping Schools
  • Implementation of advanced equal access to education.
  • Need for reforms to be made in the traditional practices or adapt their timing, such as initiation ceremonies, which are the major reasons for boys and young men dropping out of school.
  • Building on the lessons received from the extensive work done on identifying and addressing barriers to boys’ education.
  • Making learning gender-transformative, safe, and inclusive for all learners.
  • Creation of gender-transformative and inclusive learning environments that address all learners’ needs.
UNESCO Report On Boys’ Greater Risk of Dropping Out From Schools: Statistics
  • In 2020, an estimated 259 million children and youth of primary and secondary school age were out of school, 132 million of whom were boys.
  • While previously boys’ disengagement and dropout rates were concerns mainly in high-income countries, several low- and middle-income countries have seen a reversal in gender gaps, with boys now lagging behind girls in enrolment and completion.
  • In 73 countries, fewer boys – than girls – are enrolled in upper-secondary education.

UNESCO Report On Boys’ Greater Risk of Dropping Out From Schools: Details

  • The report titled ‘Leave No Child Behind: Global Report on Boys’ Disengagement from Education’ highlighted that no less than 132 million boys of primary and secondary school age are out of school. 
  • Boys are more likely than girls to experience physical bullying and are often targeted because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE).
  • In 57 countries, 10-year-old boys find it more difficult to master reading skills than girls, and adolescent boys continue to fall behind girls at the secondary level.

What Are The Reasons Behind the Greater Number of Male Drop-Outs From Schools?

  • Poverty and the need to work can lead boys to drop out. 
  • Gendered norms and expectations can also affect their desire to learn. 
  • In particular, certain subjects can run counter to traditional expressions of masculinity, making them unpopular with boys. 
  • Harsh discipline, corporal punishment, and other forms of violence at school also negatively impact boys’ academic achievement, while increasing absenteeism and dropouts.
  • Practices such as streaming of classes and gender segregation contribute to boys’ low motivation, underachievement, and disengagement from education. 
  • Conflict and forced migration exacerbate challenges in accessing and completing education. 
  • Factors like language barriers, mobility, a steep digital divide, and discrimination contribute to educational exclusion.

UNESCO Report On Boys’ Greater Risk of Dropping Out From Schools: Statistics

  • In 2020, an estimated 259 million children and youth of primary and secondary school age were out of school, 132 million of whom were boys.
  • While previously boys’ disengagement and dropout were concerns mainly in high-income countries, several low- and middle-income countries have seen a reversal in gender gaps, with boys now lagging behind girls in enrolment and completion.
  • In 73 countries, fewer boys than girls are enrolled in upper-secondary education.

Possible Solutions To Prevent Boys From Dropping Schools

  • Implementation of advanced equal access to education.
  • Need for reforms to be made in the traditional practices or adapt their timing, such as initiation ceremonies, which are the major reasons for boys and young men dropping out of school.
  • Building on lessons of the extensive work identifying and addressing barriers to boys’ education.
  • Making learning gender-transformative, safe, and inclusive for all learners.
  • Creation of gender-transformative and inclusive learning environments that address all learners’ needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the reason behind gender disparity in school education in recent years?

Experts pointed out that prolonged school closures and the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on learning loss and school dropout have led to existing gender disparities.

Which report highlighted that no less than 132 million boys of primary and secondary school age are out of school?

The report titled ‘Leave no child behind: Global report on boys’ disengagement from education’ highlighted that no less than 132 million boys of primary and secondary school age are out of school.

What are the possible solutions to prevent boys from dropping school?

Implementation of advanced equal access to education.
Need for reforms to be made in the traditional practices or adapt their timing, such as initiation ceremonies, which are the major reasons for boys and young men dropping out of school.
Building on lessons of the extensive work identifying and addressing barriers to boys’ education.
Making learning gender-transformative, safe, and inclusive for all learners.
Creation of gender-transformative and inclusive learning environments that address all learners’ needs.

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