18 janvier 2016

"Notre système d'éducation doit cesser d'ignorer son parti pris contre les garçons"

Le Telegraph a publié un intéressant article récemment sur le sort des garçons dans le système d'éducation britannique. En voici des extraits:

Each time UCAS releases statistics on equality of access to university in the UK, the gap between the entry rates for girls and boys gets a bit worse.  

Just before Christmas, our 2015 End of Cycle Report revealed that young women in the UK are now 35pc more likely to go to university than young men, and 52pc more likely when both sexes are from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Today we publish data on the sex balance in specific degree courses, which shows that there are more women than men accepted to most subject areas.

This highly entrenched trend is not just a reflection of the preferences of young men and women when it comes to making decisions about their lives after school or college.  It is a direct consequence of years of lower educational achievement by boys, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, throughout primary and secondary education.

At the end of primary education (age 11), only 22pc of boys achieve Level 5 or better in reading, writing and maths compared to 27pc of girls.

By the age of 16, girls are over 20pc more likely to achieve five GCSEs including English and Maths at Grade C or better.

By age 18, only 47pc of students studying for pre-university level qualifications are boys. 30,000 more girls than boys are studying for A levels or other academic qualifications which best support progression to higher tariff universities. Some 5,000 more boys than girls are doing vocational qualifications, but girls are outperforming boys in both academic and vocational qualifications at this level. The only exception seems to be that slightly more of the boys who are doing A levels get the very highest A* grades, and they still do rather better at maths than girls. 

Degrees supporting traditionally male-dominated professions such as medicine, law and dentistry now all recruit more female students than male.  And move over James Herriot – 80pc of students accepted to veterinary medicine last year were female.

The UCAS figures today also show that there are more women than men across a range of subjects including, pathology and anatomy, biology, genetics, nursing, social work, and English. Two years ago women overtook men in Philosophy, and the same happened with history subjects in 2011. Given that there are more men than women in the population, to achieve equality, there would need to be around 5pc more men than women across the board.

So what is going wrong?  Does lower achievement for boys have anything to do with the 80pc female dominated state schools’ workforce, which includes 85pc female teachers in primary schools and 62pc in secondary?  Would boys respond and learn better with more male teachers and role models? 

In the same way that we promote computer science and STEM careers to women – the group of subjects where women do remain behind – I’d like to see a concerted national campaign to attract men into teaching. Individual universities, like the University of East Anglia and Bath Spa, have taken up the baton by offering taster days, shadowing and support to encourage men to consider teacher training, but more is needed.

What about the curriculum and qualifications?  In all the heated debates about the primary curriculum, I don’t recall hearing anything about the different impacts on teaching and learning for girls and boys.  

(...) There is plenty of research about the differences in the male and female brain, hormones, maturity and behaviour, learning styles and preferences, and how these affect educational achievement.  But although most schools will track the achievement of their boys and girls, there seems to be little focus on the gender gap in education policy.  A recent FOI request by the men’s human rights group, MRA-UK, asked the Department for Education if it recognized boys’ underachievement, what initiatives are in place, and how much is budgeted for them in 2015/16.  The response in July 2015 was “The Department does not fund any initiatives that just focus on addressing boys’ underachievement”.

The evidence is clear.  Girls are doing better throughout primary, secondary and higher education than boys; poor, white boys are the most disadvantaged group in entry to higher education; and the gap is getting wider.  But despite the evidence, despite the press coverage, there has been a deafening policy silence on the issue. 

(...) Has the women’s movement now become so normalised that we cannot conceive of needing to take positive action to secure equal education outcomes for boys?



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