There is the need for a change in the mechanisms governing the education system in Guyana so that it will allow for equal access to education for boys.
This is according to Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry. Addressing a symposium on boy’s education at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) today, the minister said there is a necessity for all stakeholders to find ways to attract and retain males in the education system.
“There is a greater need for collaboration among institutions so that we could bridge the gaps in boys’ education. Gender equality in We could make the difference for our boys,” she told the symposium.
Held under the theme “bridging the gender divide: stemming the tide of male under-achievement in the education system”, the two-day symposium was organised by the University of Guyana’s Faculty of Education and Humanities in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Commonwealth of Learning, CARICOM and UNICEF.
Data in Guyana reveals that at birth and early education, the ratio of boys to girls is a one to one. By the end of the school system at the secondary level, the ratio stands at 2 to 1 in favour of girls.
Using data from a UNICEF research on the underperformance of boys, showed that limited resources in the education system are linked to low-quality education. It showed that stereotypes in the classrooms assume that boys are independent and are deemed less interested in learning and would earn money in spite of their level of education. The argument was made too that girls have many role models in the classroom, while boys do not.
Minister Henry said the task government now faces, is figuring out how to retain boys using approved and systematic methodologies. The government also has to figure out where along the continuum the dynamics changes, and the factors responsible.
The ministry has already commenced the process of curriculum reform, which Minster Henry said will be extensive. According to her, this reform will be the first to be undertaken since 1976.
“Some of the broader issues would have to be discussed so that we could determine what a new curriculum would like.” She said the onus is on all, especially those in the education sector, to bridge the gap in across disciplines in favour of boys.
According to UG, the issue of boy’s education has been significant to Guyana’s education system for some time. It is said, over the last three decades, indicators at local and external assessments have increasingly reflected a decline in the level of performance of males at various levels in the education system.
By: Alexis Rodney.