Boys’ Underperformance in Education

Bringing out the Best in Boys

In parts of the Commonwealth, high dropout rates for boys and transitions to secondary and tertiary education have become matters of concern. A 2017 Commonwealth of Learning report found that lower literacy rates for boys is also of concern.

Building on previous work, the Commonwealth of Learning’s Strategic Plan 2021-2027 commits to reducing education gaps for boys in those regions where it is a concern, through:

Collecting the data, understanding the determinants

In order to address gaps in participation and educational attainment, governments, especially departments of education, need to develop their capacity to collect data on the educational achievements of boys and girls:

  • COL is supporting data collection in the Pacific on the situation of boys’ education, building government capacity to collect this data, and identifying the challenges boys are facing with a view to further developing programming in this area.

Supporting families, engaging communities

  • COL is working with partners in the Caribbean and the Pacific to address the social and economic determinants and supports that allow families to encourage all of their children to transition successfully to secondary and tertiary education.

Inclusive pedagogies small grants

A further recommendation arising from COL’s previous work in this area is for schools and teachers to expand pedagogical processes to respond to a diversity of students and learning needs:

  • COL will dedicate small grants to explore what is working across the Commonwealth to keep boys engaged and thriving in technology enabled and in-class learning settings, building a community of practice, the body of literature, and connecting with opportunities to scale up pedagogies that work for all and address boy’s underachievement in certain regions and contexts.

Safe and effective online learning and mentorship

The 2017 Commonwealth of Learning report recommended the creation of safe online learning spaces to identify and address problems and issues facing boys in schools:

  • COL is working with partners in the Caribbean to look at open and distance learning as a tool to provide mentorship opportunities for boys, and training and internships that pave the way for youth to enter the workforce.

Communities of Practice on boys’ education

  • Together with partners, COL will build a community of practice across the Commonwealth to learn and exchange and connect good practices with our education systems to empower boys to learn and to thrive in and through education.
  • To further this objective, COL will also host a bi-annual virtual Pan-Commonwealth Conference on Boys’ Education.

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