(Results of recently announced BA/BSc/BCom, Intermediate should be an eye-opener for policy-makers)

SARGODHA-Academic performances of the girls are central and highly commendable in all over the Pakistan, but the concerns about failing boys seem to have been completely ignored by the policy-makers. Girls have left behind the boys in every walk of life, whether it the education sector or the competitive exams.

Recently, universities announced the BA/BSc results in which almost all the top positions were grabbed by the girl students. It was not happened for the very first time but the analysis of the results of last 2-3 years announced by the Punjab University, Sargodha University, the University of Gujrat and the Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education of many districts of Punjab, proved the steady and top performance of girl students in every exam including the competitive exams held at provincial and national level. They can be seemed in every field, fighting for the success and pride, and framing their ambitions positively.

In other words, success rates of girls are mounting in recent times while those of boys declined to the extent of fiasco. Pakistan, who is going through a demographic transition, has the largest 64 per cent of young people, below the age of 30 while 29 per cent are between the ages of 15 and 29 years. Where this youth bulge is considered a potential, it can be a ticking bomb as well. The young blood, if not nurtured and guided well, may add to the worries and woes of the country.

We should teach our children equally well and feed them of our dreams, but the boy’s downfall in education sector at alarming pace, have raised many questions on the social and economic development of the country, especially about their own future as they are the major stakeholders.

The issue has been ignored by the policy-makers and even by the media which did not pay any attention to the topic while people want to know the reasons behind the boy’s failure and the remedies to overcome the problem to secure their sons’ future.

To have answers of such questions, this scribe spoke to some girl students who recently grabbed top positions in university and board examinations.

Ramla Shehzadi, who secured gold medal and the overall first position in Sargodha University’s BA/BSc annual examinations 2019, expressed her views about the diverse treatment of parents to sons and daughters.

She said, “I studied for 4-5 hours daily in routine and 18-20 hours during exams. I am not social media user which saves my valuable time. We (girls) are not allowed to go outside for entertainment, don’t have any other activities like my brother. But my father, who is a shoemaker, never stopped him from his activities. He asks my brother to study in a gentle tone but in my case, he never allows me to waste my time in other activities than studies, yet I somehow get him to agree helping him in his work. And I don’t know whether my brother is treated specially or me.”

Another student Aqsa Mustafa, who stood second in FSc Pre-Medical in Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, stated that for her, learning is like an obligation and one can lead to success only with determination. “During my FSc and MCAT preparation, I used to study 12 hours a day, I set my target and reached it by the end of the day. My parent’s dreams motivated me to study hard, they always wished to see me as a doctor and this dream has always been a driving force for me,” she added.

She further briefed that she has a brother who is in matriculation and has secured 65 percent in his SSC first part result. “He has no interest in studying and wants to become a cricketer, my parents are always worried about him. There is no gender discrimination in the parenting of my parents; rather they are stricter towards my brother than me. I think lack of ambition and non-serious attitude of my brother is the reason behind his low grades,” Aqsa concludes.

While searching for the reasons of boys’ downfall, this scribe further talked to Mr Muhammad Murtaza Noor, National Coordinator of Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan.

To him, usage of social media is the main reason behind the boys’ failure in education as they are more addicted to social media in comparison with the girls.

“The girls after coming to home opted to study as they have no other outdoor activities. The boys lack the tendency of competition, while it is higher in the girls. Misuse of liberty is also a reason behind boys’ failure, they don’t take things serious,” he said.

Murtaza also considers the difference of facilities the boys and girls enjoy, also effects boys’ performance as they usually get admissions in universities far from their home and live in hostels while the girls are usually admitted in universities nearest to their home.

Moreover, he added, there are 47% girls in universities and they are facing so many issue including social values, family restrictions and financial issue etc. “But girls quickly realized the problems faced by their parents and worked hard to lift up themselves and parental decision. They are more sensible, responsible and keen to get highest grades realizing the importance of their success because they know that giving higher education to them had never been an easy decision for any parents in Punjab to make,” he further said.

Faqeer Sein, a Petro-Physicist by profession and renowned progressive writer commenting on the issue said that boys have more power to get liberty while girls mostly remained at home and spend more time in studying. We can’t blame parents on boy’s failure but there is need for changing the social pattern from “saving girls to saving boys.” Parents have to understand this issue that sons must be guided towards better future.

He said that population rise also played an important role. The parents who have 2-3 Childs, their sons and daughters both were treated and attended by their parents in a way that success comes toward them. On the other hand parents having more Childs could not pay equal attention as the financial power of them did not match their needs.

Many research studies have also been consulted for better understanding of the problem. For example, a study, conducted by Martin Seligman and Angela Lee Duckworth, the top cognitive scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, explains that girls are apt to start their study work earlier in the day than boys and spend almost double the amount of time on it. The study found that girls’ edge out boys in overall self-discipline which lead them better grades across all subjects. They also found that girls are more adept at “reading test instructions before proceeding to the questions,” “paying attention to a teacher rather than daydreaming,” “choosing homework over TV,” and “persisting on long-term assignments despite boredom and frustration.”

Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson, authors of the book “Raising Cain: Protecting the emotional life of boys,” argued that shifts in academic achievement are frequently explained through assertions that the classroom has become a gendered space that favors the feminine while boys’ masculine tendencies have become unwelcome and problematized. The girls are thriving, but that boys’ inclinations to kinesthetic, visual, and competitive learning are neglected, thus fostering boy’s trouble in education, they noted.

Gwen Kenney-Benson, a psychology professor at Allegheny College, a liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania, notes in his study that girls succeeded over boys because they tend to be more mastery-oriented in their work habits. “They are more apt to plan ahead, set academic goals, and put effort into achieving those goals. They also are more likely than boys to feel intrinsically satisfied with the whole enterprise of organizing their work, and more invested in impressing themselves and their teachers with their efforts.”

This whole situation not only calls the boys but their parents and policy makers to pay attention and take deliberate steps to make boys think about their future by encouraging them to set academic goals and assuring to achieve their success in every walk of life. For the matter, parents and teachers have to understand that how boys are different from girls, and policy makers have to think about how to best meet the needs of them for prosperous and strong Pakistan.