Girls do better at school
Around the world, girls do better than boys at school. These are the findings of a recent study that looked at the test results of 1.5 million 15-year-olds in 74 regions across the globe.
The level of gender equality in those regions made no difference to the results. Other factors, such as the income level of the region also had little impact on the findings. In only three regions - Colombia, Costa Rica and the Indian state Himachal Pradesh - was the trend reversed with boys doing better.
So what are the causes of girls' stronger performance? In the UK, girls outperform boys in exams that are taken at the age of 15 or 16, called GCSEs. According to education expert Ian Toone, this is down to the way girls and boys are brought up. "Boys are encouraged to be more active from an early age, whereas the restless movements of baby girls are pacified... Hence, girls develop the skill of sitting still for longer periods of time, which is useful for academic pursuits like studying for GCSEs."
He goes on to say that boys often cluster together in larger groups than girls. Because of this they are more likely to be influenced by peer pressure and develop a gang mentality. He says that GCSEs require a lot of solo work and are not viewed as 'cool' in a laddish culture.
This is backed up by research in the UK that says girls are out-performing boys at the age of five. So what is the answer? Should girls and boys be educated separately? Or do exams and school curricula need to be changed to better reflect boys' skills? These are the questions facing educators in many countries.
to reverse a trend