Washington: Using international data, researchers have found that girls outperform boys in educational achievements in 70 percent of the countries they studied – regardless of the level of gender, political, economic or social equality. According to the data, boys fall behind girls in overall achievement across reading, mathematics and science worldwide.
Boys outperform girls in only three countries or regions: Colombia, Costa Rica and the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, said the team from University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) in the US and the University of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland. “We studied the educational achievement levels of 1.5 million 15-year-olds from around the world using data collected between 2000 and 2010,” said David Geary, curators professor of psychological sciences at MU.
“Even in countries where women’s liberties are severely restricted, we found that girls are outperforming boys in reading, mathematics, and science literacy by age 15, regardless of political, economic, social or gender equality issues and policies found in those countries,” he said. In countries, known for relatively low gender equality ratings, such as Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, the educational achievement gap is relatively large and favours girls.
The one exception worldwide is among students in economically developed nations where high achieving boys outperform high achieving girls, researchers said. “With the exception of high-achievers, boys have poorer educational outcomes than girls around the world, independent of social equality indicators,” said Gijsbert Stoet, reader in psychology at the University of Glasgow.
Results show that a commitment to gender equality on its own is not enough to close the achievement gaps in global education; the gap is not increasing. “Although it is vital that we promote gender equality in schools, w e also need to make sure that we are doing more to understand why these gaps, especially among boys, persist and what other policies we can develop to close them,” Stoet said. The study also has important implications for educational policy, the researchers concluded. The paper was published in the peer-reviewed journal Intelligence.
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