"Society has failed boys"

Boys left behind in the classroom

4:50 min

Girls continue to outperform boys at school and teachers continue to do little to reverse the trend in Swedish classrooms, according to a new government study "Men and Equality" which was presented today. "It is a failure on the part of the school, not least illustrated by this results performance gap between boys and girls which has been around for a very long time," says the government's special investigator Svend Dahl.

"The result of the failure by schools to meet boys' needs also affects girls negatively," says Svend Dahl. "Boys acting up means means less attention to the girls. Something we have really known about for a long time," Svend Dahl says.

The government investigator believes a broader effort is needed in changing attitudes about boys, both among parents and school staff. Svend Dahl says there is an unconscious attitude that boys do not care about their studies: It is only boys being boys, they argue, let them be boys."

"Society has betrayed the boys," says Professor Martin Ingvar, who previously looked at the issue of gender differences in school.

"It's never the children's fault. This is an adult mindset that has gone overboard. Today we have a society where there is a risk factor in being a boy when it comes to school results.It is going to cost dearly," said Professor Martin Ingvar to news agency TT.

The school has, contrary to its given task, reinforced inequality in society, according to Martin Ingavr's previous studies. Among the factors that he believes are not taken into account at school is that boys mature at least one year later than girls during the early school years.

The losers are boys from working-class and immigrant backgrounds .
"The management of schools has not given the tools they need in order to be able to deliver what is expected. Teacher training has been lousy on this point," says Martin Ingvar to TT .

Ronnaskolan in Södertälje was shown as a positive example when it comes to improving boys results in school. Headteacher Lina Axelsson Kihlblom has over a two year period lifted the number of pupils who go oto High School from 52 procent to 76 procent. One explanation is that they have two teachers per class.