By: Mark Dawson

This week all seven top academic awards at Aotea College went to girls – an outstanding display of excellence that has become so commonplace as to hardly be newsworthy.

However, it did become front page news when a father with a son at the large and successful school in Porirua queried why the boys were not faring so well.

There was no disputing that the girls were worthy of their prizes – they were the best, and recognised a such – but dad Chris Watson was more concerned with the education system as a whole, and asked the awkward question.

“To what extent have our boys been disadvantaged academically by a system that’s evidentially favouring girls over boys.”

Rather than pointing a finger at the school, he was referring to “a national issue”, and it’s one that has been raised before but to little effect.

The growing academic success of female kind over many years can only be applauded, but isn’t the comparative decline of boys worthy of attention?

Deputy prime minister Paula Bennett inadvertently raised the issue when speaking about the “gender pay gap” in her role as Minister for Women.

She pointed out that “fewer girls than boys leave school without any qualification; 50.7 per cent of school leavers with NCEA level 2 or above are girls.”

Also: “Sixty per cent of people who gain tertiary certificates and diplomas are women; 60 per cent of people who gain bachelors and above are women.”

These stats for women’s educational achievement are impressive and should be welcomed. But at the moment the stats are only going in one direction … how far behind will boys be in 10 years time, and is it something we should be concerned about?

Source: Wanganui Chronicle


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