Raising the BARR – Week ending 16 December 2016

Raising the Barr

We Have an Education Crisis of The Sexes

Where have our boys gone? Congratulations to all of the girls that got end of year awards at their school presentation days, but where are the boys? I have spent the great majority of the past 3 weeks in school halls, proudly watching our next generation celebrate their success. Student after student announced to the stage. In 2016, more than any other year, it was girl after girl after girl announced to the stage, with a sprinkling of boys. This is a trend that has worried me increasingly over the past 6 years. Today, I am declaring it a crisis.

In the 1980’s, the absence of girls in some key subjects of maths and science, had the academic and education worlds in a complete spin. It was at that time, rightly and correctly, labelled a failure of our system. Subsequently, millions and millions of dollars were invested, teaching methods changed, media and public attention focused. Things moved slowly at first, but by the mid to late ‘90’s the girls were well and truly entrenched in those key learning areas of maths and science. Hoorahh! Success!

In the past 5 to 10 years, boys have almost completely disappeared from the excellence list in almost every subject in schools. This is not a failure of just one or two subjects; it is a complete failure of our education system. In almost every school assembly that I have attended in the past 3 weeks, the girls were awarded roughly 75% of the academic awards – the “smart” awards if you like. Seemingly, in a bid for gender balance, the boys did quite well in the “sportsmanship” or “sustained effort” or “citizenship” categories. I am certain that the girls are good at these things too, but had the boys not taken out most of these humanity awards, in many cases, the school stage would have been a boy free zone. I am sure that teachers, parents, family and friends would share my concerns.