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We’ve emasculated our education system

Little over a month ago, there was a release of the national ranking for high schools in Jamaica based on the results of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) by Educate Jamaica. To be honest, after perusal of the standings, I must admit that I am rather worried. While I congratulate the performance of institutions right across the island, I do have some serious concerns about our all-boys institutions and the results of our boys in general.

How the schools are ranked is a clear indication of the fact that the education system is stocked against males, with greater interest being placed on areas that find more favour with females. We must look to change this. The way we go about educating boys must be revisited and the one-size-fits-all approach must be disbanded.

It is rather unfortunate that within the rankings only one all-male institution fell into the top 10 of the overall standings in 2016 Wolmer’s Boys’. Other schools such as Calabar High and Jamaica College, two premier high schools in Kingston, found themselves outside the top 20 schools.

Being a young educator, it is clear to me that greater passion is needed among the teachers within our all-boys institutions. In fact, a greater passion is needed across the education sector. Additionally, it can be found that for most teachers, because they are not happy with their circumstances within the system in terms of salary and other things, they do not bring much innovation and strategy to the way they educate our children.


It is important to note that males learn differently, and educators and administrators must understand that and accept it. The teaching strategies cannot be the same. We have to be flexible in how we prepare our boys.

I understand that we are all human, and that everyone has a fair share of personal issues, but when teachers enter a classroom their personal problems should be left at the door. The students feed on the mood of their teacher, and if they sense disinterest from their educator, they’ll also be disinterested.

It may be the case that more male teachers are needed in our classrooms. The presence of additional male teachers may reflect positively on our male students. According to data made available by the Ministry of Education, less than 15 per cent of our teachers are male, and less than 10 per cent are at the early childhood and primary level.

Our boys are in trouble

According to available data, there are more girls than boys enrolled across all levels of the education system. When it comes to class attendance in co-ed institutions, more girls attend classes than boys. When did it become OK for our children to choose not to be educated?

Being given to the classroom experience, I am in a position to conclude that we have allowed our boys to feel as though they are too grown to be corrected or instructed, and this is an issue which starts from the home along with the community. The disciplinary approach taken at school must not differ at home, or this will cause problems when the teachers have to carry out disciplinary measures. It cannot be that there are clashing cultures between home and school.

Unfortunately, the performance of boys at all examinations, be it at Grade Six Achievement Test to Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams, is lower than that of girls. This, of course, leads to a major issue facing our education system in that boys have a higher dropout rate than girls. This will lead to a future society filled with emasculation.

It is a fallacy that our boys are slow or weak. If anything, they are just not motivated or simply bored; and frankly, the system we currently have neither motivates nor challenges them.

The education system needs to take a stroll into the 21st century. Do we realise boys tend to do better in the business and technical subjects? The system needs to be a little more centred on improving problem-solving skills, exploration of ideas, analysis, creativity, and innovative thinking. The system we inherited from our colonial masters no longer works for our boys.

If we truly intend on seeing our males perform at their best, we must look to gear them towards a curriculum that challenges their minds.