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Story Highlights

  • Local and international partnerships are being utilized by the Ministry of Education to address the continuing trend of females outperforming males in the classroom.
  • Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Grace McLean, in an interview with JIS News, said the Ministry has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Commonwealth Secretariat to implement strategies that will help to correct the issue.
  • Dr. McLean noted that according to research done on the trend, females tend to outperform their male counterparts at the primary level. However, at the secondary level males and females tend to perform equally.

Local and international partnerships are being utilized by the Ministry of Education to address the continuing trend of females outperforming males in the classroom.

Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Grace McLean, in an interview with JIS News, said the Ministry has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Commonwealth Secretariat to implement strategies that will help to correct the issue.

“We have developed a gender based manual through USAID…. and that manual gives a number of different tips as to how you treat with boys as against girls and how those methods are used and implemented,” she said.

Dr. McLean added that coupled with the efforts of USAID, a three-year study tracking eight high schools is being undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat. It is expected that the results from the study will inform strategies that can be used in the classroom.

A partnership has also been forged with the Institute of Education at the University of the West Indies (UWI) as a means of training teachers to meet the needs of students.

“They are coordinating a programme where we are using our lecturers as well as our third and fourth year student teachers in our tertiary institutions to coach and mentor teachers in the classroom in terms of meeting the direct needs of the students,” the Chief Education Officer noted.

She pointed out that a major challenge which the Ministry is working to adjust is the teaching technique that is being used, adding that the methods that may prove successful for girls may not yield the same results for boys.

“[While] the girls will try to sit and learn, the boys become distracted. [Therefore] it is by using the methodology of differentiated instruction, where the teachers plan specifically for the needs of the students, that we can treat with those needs accordingly,” Dr. McLean pointed out.

“The Ministry continues to encourage research where the boys are separated from the girls in those primary schools that are together, and teachers track the performance of the boys separate from the girls,” she added.

It is expected that with these initiatives there will be gradual improvement in the performances of male students over a period of time.

Dr. McLean noted that according to research done on the trend, females tend to outperform their male counterparts at the primary level. However, at the secondary level males and females tend to perform equally.

“If you look closely and you speak to some of our principals they will tell you that in most cases at the CSEC level, the boys are doing a lot better than the girls,” she said.