Girls more forgiving, boys ‘unlearn’, education report finds
Published: July 27, 2012 – 2:57PM
They may never earn as much but girls continue to be streets ahead of boys in educational outcomes, according to a new report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.
Men also continue to have worse health outcomes than women and are much more likely to commit offences and be incarcerated.
Only 75 per cent of boys entering high school in 2011 were likely to continue studying until the end of year 12, compared with 84 per cent for girls, the Gender Indicators report says.
The gap holds into adult years with only 30 per cent of men aged 25-29 years having completed a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with 41 per cent of women of the same age.
Men are more likely than women to complete a Certificate III and IV qualification as their pathway into employment.
Tim Jurd, the principal of Homebush Boys, said the results fitted “with everything I’ve known about boys’ education”.
Girls generally adapt more readily to school than boys – which meant that good teaching practice is much more critical for young men, he said.
“Boys need highly structured lessons, with clear expectations, with goals and outcomes explicitly articulated in order to connect with learning,” Mr Jurd said.
“Girls are much more forgiving when the structure of a lesson is less clearly defined.”
Mr Jurd believes the impact of puberty has significant bearing on comparative results. Some boys experience a degree of “unlearning”, he said.
“Boys make the gains in later adolescence but there are some students who have lost the habit and it can be quite hard to regain,” he said.
Chris Cawsey, the principal of Rooty Hill High, noted that while more boys leave school earlier it did not necessarily damage their prospects.
“There are multiple pathways and it is not just about degree qualifications,” she said.
“We put a lot of effort into personalising learning. Where does that student want to go, where does the family want them to go and then we try and get them there. A lot of men who leave do a trade and go on to be very successful.”
The report found males were more than three times as likely as females to die from suicide, nearly three times more likely to die in a car accident, and one and a half times more likely to die from cancer.
The suicide rate for males was highest in the 35-44 age group and, in 2010, males accounted for 77 per cent of all suicides.
Fewer people are dying in car accidents than they were a decade ago but the death rate remains nearly three times as high for males, with the proportion remaining almost identical.
Between 2001 and 2010, the rate for males fell from 15 deaths per 100,000 to 9.4 for males compared with a drop from five to 3.3 for females.
Cancer is another leading killer of males, at about one and a half times the rate of females (224.2 per 100,000 for males and 139 for females in 2010).
Although it kills more men, heart disease remains the leading cause of death for males and females, with the gap increasing in the past 10 years.
Men are more likely to be the victims of assault, less likely to tell police about it, and 13 times as many men ended up in prison last year.