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Boys fall further behind girls in school: report

8 Nov 2012, 13:25

There is an increasing difference between the performance of girls and boys in Swedish schools, with girls pulling away from their male counterparts, according to new statistics published by the National Agency for Education (Skolverket).
 

"We are worried about these results," Christina Sandström at the agency told The Local on Thursday.

“We have known for a long time that girls have better school results than boys. What is new is that the results are increasing. There has always been a gap, but now it is bigger,” Sandström explained.

On Wednesday, Skolverket published the school results of this summer’s ninth-year students. These results showed that girls’ school results were an average of 223.8 (out of 320), whereas boys scored an average of 199.5.

The statistics also showed that more girls qualified for high school (gymnasiet) programmes than boys.

Skolverket concluded that though results are improving for most student groups, boys with a foreign background and boys with less educated parents are actually performing worse.

“I do not begrudge any success for the girls, but it would be terribly serious to lose a generation of boys and immigrants,” Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) told the TT news agency.

Christina Sandström underlined that while the difference between the grade point average for girls and boys may seem small in numerical terms, when applied to 100,000 students, a gap of over 20 points is actually very significant.

”It takes a lot to make a major change”.

Meanwhile, Social Democrat Ibrahim Baylan is more worried about the general decrease in students that qualify for high school (gymnasiet) programmes, for the 6th year in a row.

The report indicated that proportion of qualified students decreased from 87.7 percent to 87.5 percent.

“The current school policy has reached the end of the road. The government is simply not doing the right thing,” Baylan told TT.

Sandström recognized that while the change is small, the trend is clear in that the results are getting worse.

“We want results to be better. We have implemented a new syllabus and it is very important that schools take the new goals for education seriously,” she continued.

“We have made changes within school regulations, but it is important that schools also implement these modifications.”

Sandström said that research is ongoing into why girls systematically achieve better results than boys at this level, but there is currently no definitive explanation.

”I don’t know if we ever can solve it,” she said.

TT/Sanne Schim van der Loeff

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