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‘Decisive steps’ needed to keep boys in schools

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 9 April, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
‘Decisive steps’ needed to keep boys in schools

Although girls have more difficulty accessing education and make up most out-of-school children at the primary level, challenges facing boys are increasing at later stages, according to a report published on Wednesday by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Leave no child behind: Global report on boys’ disengagement from education, sheds light on the factors driving boys’ disengagement from the classroom.

The report highlights a global phenomenon: Harsh discipline, corporal punishment, and other forms of violence at school; gendered norms and expectations; and other factors, are preventing boys from achieving academically, while increasing absenteeism and dropouts.

“To make education a universal right, we need to ensure that all youth have the educational opportunities to successfully shape their lives and futures,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in the foreword.

“As this report underlines, we need to take decisive steps to keep boys in school and support them throughout their education”.

UNESCO data reveals that for every 100 women globally, only 88 men are enrolled in tertiary education; and in 73 countries, fewer boys than girls are registered in upper-secondary schools, while the opposite is the case in a further 48 countries.

Moreover, in all regions except sub-Saharan Africa, teenagers are underrepresented in higher education – particularly in North America, Western Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, where 81 young men for every 100 young women are in fulltime learning.

In East Asia and the Pacific, the figure is 87, while in the Arab States and Central and Eastern Europe region, it is 91 per 100.

Of the 160 million children engaged in labour activity in 2020, the report reveals that 97 million were boys and cites a lack of a “protective legal framework” as one of the main reasons for their exclusion.