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Letter of the Day: Universities need much more men

Published:Sunday | September 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Summer is over and tens of thousands of persons have started university. How many of those are men? Not enough.

According to a 2007 article written by Professor Mark Figueroa of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in the 2000s, the gender balance within the graduating class of UWI moved beyond a ratio of 70:30 in favour of females. It is necessary to increase the number of men entering university.

Having a small number of males with a tertiary-level education could have a long-lasting effect on the development of the country. In today's world, schooling is paramount for the progress of individuals, and it is these individuals who work together to build a strong nation. In order to raise the number of men enrolling in tertiary-level institutions, it is necessary to pay attention to males before they reach college age.

It is suggested that the way young boys are socialised in our society be adjusted and that the school environment be transformed into a more male-friendly zone. Boys are shaped to be curious and adventurous while girls are socialised to be passive and to 'sit still and listen'. The ability to 'sit still and listen' is more helpful than possessing curiosity, given the style of teaching that is employed, namely, excessive rote learning. Henceforth, the school environment is somewhat more suitable for girls.

The gender socialisation of boys and girls should be more balanced to ensure both genders come to school with the necessary skills. There are ways to make school more appealing to boys.


education is feminine

First, the majority of the teachers that primary-school students encounter are women. This sends the message that education is feminine. A boost in the number of male primary-school educators may help to convey to boys that school is not just for girls. Creating incentives such as employment benefits could attract men to the teaching profession.

In terms of teaching methods, focus more on creatively exploring the subject matter and less on examination preparation and rote learning. Students are required to be too passive.

Schooling must be more engaging and interactive. Resocialising boys in such a manner that they are better prepared for school and making the education system a more male-friendly area will result in boys having a better 'in school' experience. As those boys mature into men, they will be more likely to pursue tertiary-level education.

Jamaican men must be well-equipped with a tertiary-level education not just for their own success, but for the success of the country. Jamaica cannot afford for its men to be ill-equipped for the global working world.