The story appears on

Page A5

November 19, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Education

Schools battle boys' 'masculinity crisis'

SECOND-GRADER Wang Zhexuan got a bump in academic ambition when he was teacher's assistant for a day in his class on his school's Boys' Day, started by the school this semester to combat what has been dubbed a "masculinity crisis" among young males.

"It's a pity that I could only act as the Chinese class assistant for one day," he said. "I want to be the assistant every day."

Each boy in the Gao'an Road No. 1 Primary School in Xuhui District is given a job to do on Boys' Day, such as watering the plants or keeping the classroom orderly. They rotate jobs and one each month gets to be the assistant of a class to encourage confidence and a sense of responsibility.

Girls better at academics

Girls are now overtaking boys in China's schools, consistently outperforming them in academic studies and beating them to sought-after spots at universities.

About 70 percent of National Scholarship winners were women between 2006 and 2008, and the percentage of males among provincial and municipal top scorers in the national college entrance exam has decreased from 66 percent to 40 percent between 1999 and 2008, according to the latest statistics available.

"People used to believe that girls are only better than boys in elementary school," said Yao Junling, an official in charge of student work at the Gao'an Road school. "But now it seems that girls keep their edge in the university studies and even in the job market."

The idea of a masculinity crisis in China has gained ground in recent years, with some experts citing physically and emotionally weak Chinese boys as evidence of an erosion of masculinity.

Participation of fathers sought

Many primary school educators are helping to tackle the problem, using activities to encourage the participation of boys and their fathers.

The city's first all-boy classes in public high schools were started earlier this year in the Shanghai No. 8 High School in Huangpu District in a bid to improve male academic performance.

"It's unlikely for naughty boys with poor scores to win more votes than girls in an election for class leaders," Yao said. "But boys are also longing to serve their classmates."

So this semester, the Gao'an Road school started Boys' Day. It also asked fathers to make time to play with their sons and urged them to attend school meetings.

Other school officials agree. Shanghai Zhabei District No. 3 Primary School invites fathers to speak in front of their sons' classes to improve the communication between father and son.

"I play with my son every day," said Jason Dong, father of a first-grade boy.

"It's important to communicate with boys on a regular basis instead of only on Boys' Day," he said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend