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March 23, 2012

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Home » Metro » Education

Plan for 1st boys school to reduce gender gap

SHANGHAI may soon have its first boys school, if a plan by an education official gets the go-ahead.

The single-sex school solution is being proposed in a bid to improve the academic performance of boys, who are consistently outperformed by girls.

"I felt it's an educator's responsibility to solve the 'boys crisis'," said Lu Qisheng, president of the Shanghai No. 8 High School.

Girls mature faster than boys, which may give girls an edge in academic studies but boys with poor exam scores may also become discouraged, Lu said.

There are more female students in top universities and women graduates perform better in the job market, he added.

Lu believes boys and girls should be educated differently according to their different characters in order to reduce the new gender imbalance.

Currently, Shanghai has one girls school - Shanghai No. 3 High School - but no boys schools.

Lu visited 15 overseas boy schools, including Eton College and in the United Kingdom and St Mark's School in the United States, to study their experiences.

Under Lu's plan, more sports classes and lab research would be introduced to the boys school to nurture "courage and creativity," while weaknesses in repetitive work and languages would be addressed.

East China Normal University has been commissioned to develop a curriculum and an application has been made to the education authorities for the approval of the alternation.

Lu said two trial classes may be launched as soon as September.

However, some parents and academics worry that pupils at a boys school may face communication problems in wider society.

"I wouldn't consider sending my boys to the school," said a mother surnamed Wei.

"It's bad for a boy's overall development. They should learn how to communicate and work with girls at school."

Gu Xiaoming, a Fudan University historian, said there had been a number of girls schools in Shanghai in the past when women's right to education was not fully respected. "There's no need to go back to the past," he said.


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