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A gender expert view about girls’ superior educational performance


Al Akhbar published a report about the results of the official tests for 2012-2013 which showed net advances in girls’ performance compared to boys and cited a gender analysis as to the possible causes and indication of such discrepancy presented by sociologist Azza Sharara Baydoun.  The report noted that as per the last ten years, girls supersede boys significantly with the total number of girls being 310 out of 462, whilst the boys’ number being 152, which equals 67% for girls and 33% for boys. Breaking those numbers into the detailed certificates, the report indicated that the total numbers of excel students of the intermediate certificate was 169, from which 116 are girls while 53 are boys, which equals to 68.6% to 31.4%. As for the High school certificates, the economics section had 69 students of which 57 are girls and 12 are boys, 82.6% to 17.4%, literature and humanities had 61 student, of which 54 are girls while 7 are boys, 88.5% to 11.5%, as for the life science section, it had 77 students of which 48 girls and 29 boys, 62.3% to 37.7%. The only section where boys supersede girls is general sciences which had 86 students of which 51 are boys and 35 are girls, 59.3% to 40.7% since not too many girls register in this section in the first place.
In her interview with Al Akhbar, and in an attempt to interpret these results, Baydoon indicated that girls’ higher performance is a worldwide phenomenon and the problem is rather the poor performance of boys.  Baydoun attributed the cause to the system of rote learning where children are taught to learn by heard and to obedient and able to stay in one place, all attributes that are preferred for girls in our societies whereas boys have more freedom and more flexibility to engage in cultural activities.  She also added that poor performance of boys may be due to the fact that teachers are not skilled in their teaching thus causing boys to be bored or rambunctious in order to express their lack of interest which in turn reflects on their performance(!?).  On the other hand, Furthermore, Baydoun noted that girls higher performance is perhaps due to the changing gender roles as parents no longer perceive marriage as a guarantee for a better life for their daughter and are therefore encouraging their daughters to study so that they are able to work for a living and achieve financial independence which is needed in case they do not marry, they divorce or become widows.  Baydoun concluded that the fact that girls are better performers than boys hides other problems at the level of educational system, and education within the home that needs to be addressed.
Source: Al-Akhbar 12 September 2013

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