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The State of the World's Children 2004

Boys' education

Barker, Gary, ‘Gender Equitable Boys in a Gender Inequitable World: Reflections from qualitative research and program development with young men in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’, 1999
This paper asks how males with gender-equitable attitudes differ from their less egalitarian peers and how educators and programme specialists can help promote gender-equitable attitudes among young men. It identifies the roles of families, community organizations and schools in effecting positive attitudinal changes. It provides useful background information on social issues specific to young men from a low-income area of Brazil. An updated version of this paper can be found in Sexual and Relationship Therapy, vol. 15, no. 3, 2000.
[External Web page]

Brown, Janet, ‘Boys in (and out of) School in Jamaica’, The Boys in Schools Bulletin, vol. 4, no. 3, October 2001
This article examines how social, economic and educational factors affect boys differently than girls in Jamaica, pointing to the growing number of young men engaged in serious crime. It suggests that boys are subject to different educational expectations, disciplined more harshly by teachers, suffer from low attendance rates and are affected differently by economic and class issues. The author identifies areas of research that could help rectify this alarming pattern of school failure.
[External Web page]

Evans, Hyacinth, ‘Issues in Gender and Gender Equality in the Caribbean’, presented at the 7th Meeting of the Regional Intergovernmental Committee of the Major Project, Cochabamba, Bolivia, 5-7 March 2001
Noting that in the Caribbean – unlike most parts of the world – men and boys are at an educational disadvantage, this paper offers an overview of gender issues in basic education, reviews recent policy responses and trends, and suggests strategies to help close the gender gap. Statistical information on enrolment ratios in the Caribbean is included.

Foumbi, Joseph and Ronnie Lovich, 'Role of Men in the Lives of Children: A study of how improving knowledge about men in families helps strengthen programming for children and women', UNICEF, New York, 1997
This paper explains the basis for UNICEF’s support for activities focused on men – they ultimately benefit children and women. The authors examine gender-based socialization, the success of programmes that integrate male-focused strategies and activities, and frameworks for measuring policy success. The paper also describes specific programmes supported by UNICEF and its partners that help strengthen the affective roles of men and boys within families.

Hall, Stephen S., ‘The Troubled Life of Boys: The bully in the mirror’, New York Times Magazine, 22 August 1999
This article delves into the fears, insecurities and social pressures that confront school-aged boys in the United States. Several issues traditionally associated with girls, such as body image and related eating disorders, are analysed in light of their effects on boys.  Other topics of concern include teasing, bullying, physical objectification and the implications for social groups at school.

House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Education and Training, 'Boys: Getting it Right: Report on the inquiry into the education of boys', Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, October 2002
In response to boys’ having lower academic achievement levels than girls in Australia, this report examines the costs and causes of boys’ underachievement at school.  Educational outcomes are summarized in the context of labour market, social and policy changes. Recommendations are made for curriculum reform and changes in school structures.

LeBlanc, Adrian Nicole, ‘The Outsiders: How the picked-on cope – or don’t’, New York Times Magazine, 22 August 1999
This article follows the day-to-day torment of boys in a small town in the United States. Written shortly after a horrific school shooting in the United States, it presents the dangers of bullying, the effects on teenage boys (both as victims and as perpetrators) and the ways in which victims cope. The article identifies warning signs of potential dangerous behaviour. It documents the serious consequences when schools, teachers and parents ignore slurs, intimidation and violence directed at children.
[External Web page]

Men and Boys Program of the Family Action Centre, 'The Boys in Schools Bulletin: Practical initiatives addressing boys’ needs', Men and Boys Program, Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, Australia, vol. 3, no. 1, 2000
This issue of the Boys in Schools Bulletin is devoted to both local and large-scale research on boys’ education. Educational outcomes are reported and analysed, and special attention is paid to the issues of literacy, single-sex education, ‘behaviour management’ and new strategies for engaging boys in school.

Nansel, Tonja, et al., ‘Bullying Behaviors among US Youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment’, Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 285, no. 16, 2001, p.p. 2094-2100
This article reports on an analysis of the responses of 15,686 children to the 1998 World Health Organization survey entitled Health Behavior in School-aged Children. The study measures the prevalence of bullying among youth in the United States and finds that nearly 30 per cent of children – substantially more boys than girls – report engaging in or being victimized by bullying. Perpetrating and experiencing bullying are associated with poorer psychosocial adjustment. It concludes that bullying merits serious attention for future research and preventive intervention.

Richardson, John, 'Achieving Gender Equality in Families: The role of males', Innocenti Global Seminar, UNICEF International Child Development Centre (now UNICEF Innocenti Centre), Florence, Italy, 1995
This report documents the proceedings and findings of UNICEF’s Global Innocenti Seminar on ‘Achieving Gender Equality in Families: The role of males’, held at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, in May 1995. The report discusses the role of men in family life, the importance of involving men in family and community decision-making, and the factors that help keep boys enrolled in school.

Smith, P.K. et al., eds., 'The Nature of School Bullying: A cross-national perspective', Routledge, London, 1999
This book examines ways in which different countries have conceptualized the issue of school bullying, compiling reports from 21 industrialized countries along with a chapter dedicated to school bullying in developing nations. Each chapter presents a country overview, a description of how bullying is perceived in that country, current research and successful anti-bullying programmes. The book, written by renowned experts in the field, includes definitions, demographic information and gender-specific statistics.

Wilson, Gary, 'Using the National Healthy School Standard to Raise Boys’ Achievement', Department for Education and Skills, Health Development Agency, Wetherby, United Kingdom, 2003
This booklet responds to boys’ academic underachievement with specific actions for school reform. Ten major areas for school improvement are presented, such as staff development, inclusive policies and curricula, pupil-support services and partnerships with parents and communities. It considers five themes to be essential to school curricula: personal, social and health education, citizenship, emotional health and well-being, physical activity, and sex and relationship education. It includes statistical information on student achievement and the National Healthy School Standard in the United Kingdom.



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