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Principals to turn spotlight on boys

Published:Friday | April 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter

THE JAMAICA Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (JAPSS) is to focus on improving boys' performance at its retreat next month.

Girls' schools outperformed boys' schools in the basic subjects in last year's sitting of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations.

"We are going to be looking at ways of lifting students' achievement, and we are actually taking a very practical approach. We will be doing some case studies and hearing from veterans in the system, getting the ideas and guidelines as to how we can lift levels of student achievement, and so, yes, we will be looking at ways to improve the boys' performance," Sharon Reid, president of JAPSS said.

Girls' schools excel

Of the 10 top schools in English, seven are all-girls institutions, while half the number of the top 10 schools in mathematics is also all-girls schools. The schools that have done exceptionally well in English are Wolmer's Girls, St Andrew, St Hilda's Diocesan, Immaculate Conception, Westwood, Bishop Gibson and Montego Bay high schools. Also doing well in mathematics are Immaculate Conception, Wolmer's Girls, Westwood, St Andrew and Montego Bay high schools.

"There is the challenge we face in society, which has nothing to do with the education system, but having to do with the pull in society where boys are being distracted into getting involved in all kinds of things outside of school. Not being attracted by education, it is not being seen by them as the means of mobility," she said.

Concerns about approach

Reid added that the weakness of boys can also be attributed to the way they are being taught in the classroom. She said while it is welcoming news that the girls are doing well, given that she is a principal of an all-girls school, she is concerned about the performance of boys.

"Everybody must do well, so while I am pleased, any society that doesn't have the balance is one sided, and so I don't think any principal is happy. One way or the other, we want to see all of our children do well," she added.