Ministry of Education to address gender gap in performance at schools

Marcella Powell
Marcella Powell

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Marcella Powell, has revealed plans to address what is referred to as a noticeable gap between the level of performance of boys and girls in Dominica.

“The Ministry of Education intends to address the issue of gender disparity through relevant curriculum material which satisfies the curiosity and interest of boys,” Powell said at Early Learners Program (ELP) inception meeting on Thursday.

The program is aimed at addressing low performances and seeks to raise the reading levels of early learners at the early primary level, from grades K to 3 in all member states of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) including Dominica.

The Permanent Secretary said the disparity was a “major area of focus” for the Ministry.

“Our assessments over the years have revealed that girls outperform boys by an uncomfortable margin. While this reflects the fact that our girls have continued to work hard, we need to ensure that our boys catch up with respect to their performance, particularly in literacy.”

She said the ministry is not comforted by the fact that the issue is not unique to Dominica,

“I must inform you that we are not comforted by the fact that this may be a regional phenomenon. Therefore we are determined to stem this trend by improving literacy performance particularly among boys.”

The Early Learners Program aims to introduce appropriate language of instruction to teach reading at the early grades, develop teachers’ capability to assess and to teach reading to children at the early grades of primary school and improve teacher competence in the use of diagnostic tools for the early assessment of children at risk of low achievement in reading.

Other objectives of the program are: to develop and procure as necessary, teaching resources and learning materials for reading, design, develop and adopt appropriate intervention strategies for at risk children, design and implement a programme of assessment which provides better guidance for addressing students’ needs and to secure adequate instructional and practice time for reading in and out of school.

The program is one of the initiatives of the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States and is being sponsored by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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  1. lmckoy
    November 15, 2016

    Boys and girls learn differently and this must be taken into consideration when educating them. A girl will get up and go and do her work, without being told to do so but boys must be told, sometimes time and again. If educators pay attention and have an open mind they will see the differences. For example, when it rained and we couldn’t go to school, it would be joy for me but sadness (and even crying) for my sisters! Luckily and thankfully, my mother found a solution to get me to do my work: she knew I loved cricket and used that ‘against’ me. Her position was, no cricket until all school work is properly completed – talk about motivation.

    Don’t be fooled, boys have the ability to do the work, it’s just that they must be motivated to do so. If this is not done, think of the future when these well educated women will not be able to find suitable husbands. In other words, if the boys not interested, find a way to motivate them – we need both genders for a balanced…

    November 16, 2015

    I really do not understand what is going on at the Ministry of E&HRD. Some 16 years ago, officers of the Curriculum, Measurement & Evaluation Unit at the EST Building (Bruno and Goldberg) conducted research into this phenomenon. Their report was called: Male Underachievement in Dominica: Extent, Causes and Solutions. The information contained therein were presented to all stakeholders in Education nationally along with their recommendations. Today, we are still INITIATING measures to rectify this issue!! Are they asleep at this ministry? I sincerely hope not.

  3. nicole
    November 16, 2015

    This inequality in achievement has been present since my school days ( 1990s). While the education system must be vigilant in addressing the problem, the HOME environment is the first line of defense. Even before the children begin primary school education it is the PARENTS’ responsibility to get their children of BOTH sexes interested in learning. Far too often parents do not put enough effort into their kids learning processes. Even the attitude for hard work needs to be developed at home first. The attitude of diligence and a desire to learn and to achieve. These attitudes must be DEVELOPED and MAINTAINED from the HOME

  4. The Real Facts
    November 15, 2015

    The boys may be involved in sports which take up much of their time. They may also be frequent users of the Internet, tablets and Ipads, etc., that they do not have time to do their homework. They must be supervised in this respect.
    These days children are not children anymore. Some may be involved in boy and girl relationship. This could hinder their student learning ability.
    You need to address every possible aspect of why this gap exists among them. You may have to arrange a teacher-parent meeting to discuss this issue.
    While you are at it, ensure they, all students, have good penmanship. These days few people can write properly.

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