‘Female students lag behind in learning’

  • Experts say equal treatment of daughters could improve their grades
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
‘Female students lag behind in learning’

Apr 4, 2015-

Despite outnumbering boys at schools, the academic performance of girl students remains unsatisfactory compared to their male classmates, shows a government report.

A study carried out by Education Review Office (ERO) under the Ministry of Education shows that the learning achievement of male students is significantly higher, especially in like Mathematics and Science, the subjects that are generally considered tougher at school level.

 The study was conducted among 44,067 students (48 percent boys and 52 percent girls) from 1,199 schools, both public and private, in 28 sample districts.

According to the findings of the study, though the learning achievement among girl and boy students was the same in the subject of Nepali, the performance of the female students in Mathematics is lower than the male students, 33 against 38 percent. In Science, performance of the female students is at 39 percent against 43 percent for the male students.

The national learning achievement average of students in Science, Mathematics and Nepali stand at 48, 41, and 35 percent.

In region-wise assessment, the average male-female learning achievement difference in overall subjects are: 28 percent for male students and 23 percent for female students in eastern region; 33 percent (male) and 28 percent (female) in central region; 35 precent (male) and 30 percent (female) in western region; 25 percent (male) and 20 percent (female) in mid-western region; and 32 percent (male) and 26 percent (female) in far-western region. In Kathmandu Valley, there isn’t a large gap in the overall performance average between girl and boy students, which is 53 against 54 percent.

 Education experts say the study reveals that the government is only concentrated towards increasing education access to children but not towards improving their performance.

According to a Flash Report of the Department of Education (DoE), enrolment of girls at schools is higher than boys in all levels of education, which was reflected in this year’s School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations in which out of 426,214 students, 213,710 (50.14 percent) were female. The female students are expected to outnumber their male counterparts in next year’s SLC exams as well.

Girl students account for 50.6 percent of the total enrolment at lower secondary level and 50.7 at primary level.

The Gender Parity Index at primary level has reached 1.03 and 1.02 both at the

lower-secondary and secondary levels.

“Increasing access to education is a positive step. Now, there should be a programme to enhance the students’ performance,” says Mana Wagle, an education expert.

He believes that the tendency of parents engaging their daughters in household chores more than their sons is one of the reasons behind the difference seen the learning achievement between female and male students.

Parents enrolling daughters to public schools and their sons to private schools

is also a factor, Wagle added.

The ERO study also shows that the students who engage in house chores for up to two hours perform better at school than those who spend more time helping around in their households. Experts say it is usually the daughters who spend more time doing household works than their male siblings.

To ensure bring out the best performance from female students, Wagle says, they should be treated equally in their homes as well.

“We should create a level playing field for our sons and daughters to bring the best out of them in their studies.”

Published: 05-04-2015 08:51

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