Monday, January 5, 2015

Education – Are mixed schools failing Boys?

The A level results that were published a few days ago, highlighted the fact that in Sri Lanka, the girls perform at a much better level than boys. Be that as it may, whether right or wrong, another fact that emerges is that boys from single sex schools perform better, as there are hardly any boys from mixed schools at the top rung.

Another statistic that psychologists would attest to, is that age for age girls are more mature than boys, and by this it would imply that girls are more able to concentrate on their studies, set themselves achievement targets, and as they are in general less sporty, are able to focus on their studies as compared with boys. These are of course highly subjective, but would nevertheless fortify the reasons for the unbalanced entry into Universities for most subjects by girls, where even the Agriculture Faculties of Universities comprise many more girls than boys.

Just to explain one other point on the latter statement, the education system boxes people depending on their results, and if people get into Agriculture as the highest Z score course of study, no matter that most of these girls do not show any aptitude for that subject, after graduation do not use it in any form, rendering this National Investment a waste of scarce resources.

There was an article in the internet today, on this subject, and I show the link below which reinforces my hypothesis, and Educationists in Sri Lanka should take this into account in re drafting the National Education Policy, which should concentrate on giving our youth an appropriate education to suit both the Country’s needs and the personal aptitudes and goals of the students.

The article however implies that up to the Grade 5 exam it does not matter what the gender is, and also if the classes are mixed. It is at adolescence that this becomes a problem, where hormones and maturity may collectively play its part.

Most Colombo schools are single sex, and most provincial schools are mixed, this may further aggravate the performance indicators of these schools, due the hypothesis above. The largest mixed school in Sri Lanka is Dharmapala Pannipitiya, with over 2,000 students. With increasing population shift to the Western Province and its resulting need for more classrooms, it is wise to consider the effects gender separation has on the education of the students there. 

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