Identification of gender inequality at the primary education level is mandatory. At this stage, gender stereotypes seep into the mindsets of individuals. Despite being the third most developed country in the entire European region gender gap in primary education is prevalent in the UK. The United Kingdom enjoyed considerable gender parity in education for a long time. Boys and girls aged between 5 and 11 received education up to the age of fourteen since 1900. The enrolment of girls in primary education is impressive compared to other nations. At the national level, the UK successfully closed the gender gaps in enrolment of boys and girls. But new challenges are emerging, and there is a gender gap in performance. Girls are outperforming boys, and boys are struggling to compete with girls.
The outcomes of progressive policies are detrimental for the boys. Progressive educational policies are not favourable for boys since they are underperforming compared to girls. The increasing gender gap is due to structural problems in the educational system. Other societal factors are also responsible for this widening gender gap in primary education. This article written by top researchers of PhD dissertation writing services, aims to shed light on the current situation of the gender gap in primary education in the UK. It will discuss this increasing gap and provide possible solutions to remedy the situation.
Comparative Achievements of Boys and Girls
Girls outperform boys in their test scores among the age group of seven to eleven-year-old boys and girls. According to statistical data of 2015 test scores, approximately 83% of girls achieved a level 4 or higher score. On the other hand, 77% of boys from the same age group attained a four or higher score. Girls’ performance is also impressive at the GSCE level compared to boys. The majority of the girls achieve more A Grades as compared to boys. Data indicates that girls are better off than boys at the primary level in reading skills, mathematics, and verbal and non-verbal reasoning. These patterns indicate social inequality in the UK’s education system starting from the primary level.
Reasons behind the Increasing Gender Gap
The major reason behind the underperformance of boys at the primary level is the lack of male role models. According to an estimate, only 15% of teachers in primary schools are male. Some of the schools lack male teachers. Research indicates that qualified male members are more likely to opt for administrative and head positions. Females prefer teaching to administration, and therefore male students lack role models.
In the post-war period, governments actively pursued such policies to mainstream females in the national development. After the Second World War, the Labour government established a welfare state. It facilitated female enrolment in schools. The Labour government policies encouraged the enrolment of women in technical and scientific fields. Female proportion in the labour market increased significantly due to these initiatives.
Gender-related reforms encouraged women to close the gender gap. Females outperform men because of household expectations. Little pressure is exerted on the boys in the UK to break the gender stereotype. Boys remain ensconced in the toxic ideals of hyper-masculinity do not prioritize their education.
Ethnic Background and Socioeconomic Background
Studies conclude that the gender gap in primary education is also because of students’ ethnic background and socioeconomic status. The socioeconomic environment is an essential factor that influences a child’s performance. It is fundamental to their success in addition to the kind of opportunities they have and the role models they have at home.
Sexism in Primary Education
Although there exists formal gender parity in the UK, it masks the gender inequalities that are still prevalent in society. Sexism in education is still a continuing phenomenon in the primary schools of the UK. Teachers’ values about gender regarding masculinity and femininity significantly impact students’ thinking patterns. There exists a reinforcement of masculine images legitimized by the hidden curriculum in schools. This practice leads to overtly masculine behaviour among boys.
Bullying and Harassment
There is an increasing number of bullying and harassment in the primary schools of the UK. Teachers’ minimal responses to such incidents raise concerns about students’ emotional well-being. Boys indulge in profane activities, and their academic performance decreases if a teacher’s response to a case of bullying is unfair. It leads to emotional turmoil, reducing their performance since they feel not protected against bullying by the authorities.
Boys attitude towards education
The Department for Education and Skills in the UK identified the following reasons for boys’ underperformance in the UK.
- Girls are more mature and have effective learning strategies at all ages as compared to boys
- Girls are utilizing the equal opportunity programmes initiated by schools
- Boys tend to disregard authority formal academic achievement as a consequence of toxic masculinity
- Boys have confronting behaviours with the female teachers since they tend to make noise and disrupt the classroom environment to assert their masculinity
- Boys fear of failure leads them not even to strive to improve their academic performance
Recommendations to close the gender gap at the primary level
Schools can employ specific policies and strategies to address the gender gap of boys’ underachievement. Following guidelines and strategies can be helpful to address this problem and help women to become successful women entrepreneurs.
- Schools can identify the impact of a positive learning environment to improve the performance of boys
- A perfectly designed monitoring system to address the problem of bullying and harassment
- Curriculum designers need to identify the curriculum problems that reinforce the images of hyper-masculinity.
- Schools can establish support clubs celebratory days to applaud the performance of boys
- Mentoring and counselling can help improve the emotional well-being of students. It will enhance their academic performance
The failure of governments to close the gender gap in education results in an unequal society. Gender inequality is detrimental to national growth. If the schools in the UK do not address the rising gender gap in boys’ performance, it will have negative implications. It will lead to thousands of young men with a dismal future. Policies and strategies need to prioritize boys’ underachievement and develop possible solutions.