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Boys lagging behind girls in education: UNESCO

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Girls are more likely than boys to never attend school, but boys in many countries are more likely to drop out or repeat primary grades, a Global Education report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has concluded.

The report titled ‘Leave no child behind: Global report on boys’ disengagement from education’ pointed out that “While girls continue to face severe disadvantages and inequalities in education, the report shows that boys in many countries are at greater risk than girls of repeating grades, failing to complete different education levels and having poorer learning outcomes in school. No less than 132 million boys of primary and secondary school age are out of school. They urgently require support.”

“In 57 countries with data on learning poverty, 10-year-old boys fare worse than girls in mastering reading skills and adolescent boys continue to fall behind girls at the secondary level,” the report stated.

The UN report attributed boys’ disengagement from education to harsh discipline, corporal punishment, gendered norms, poverty and the need to work.

“To make education a universal right, we need to ensure that all youth have the educational opportunities to successfully shape their lives and futures. As this report underlines, we need to take decisive steps to keep boys in school and support them throughout their education. This means, among others, supporting boys’ return to education, banning corporal punishment and tackling violence at school. Policies, plans and resources to support these measures are instrumental in this respect. Fulfilling this promise of equality not only benefits boys and men; it is a step forward for all humankind,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

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