Recently appointed member of the Mercy Committee and professor of psychiatry at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Dr Gerard Hutchinson said that boys tend to be more distracted which is in part responsible for their failure to keep up with their female peers academically.
Hutchinson made the remarks yesterday while responding to questions from audience members at the 7th Annual Mediation symposium at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Citing his experience as a lecturer at the UWI Faculty of Medical Sciences, Hutchinson said that the composition of the student body at the faculty has undergone a dramatic shift since 2001 when he began his academic career.
"When I first began teaching at Mt Hope the body was distributed roughly among 70% males and 30% females at the faculty. Today, it's the other way around, where there is roughly 80% females to 20% males. So this shows that in 15 years, that has completely flipped."
"I think the distractions of the modern world seems to be affecting boys more. Meaning that their ability to focus is compromised, the question is why are they compromised compared to girls and I think that has to do with a combination of the socialisation they receive as well as the education system itself."
He explained that over the years while there have been different approaches to education, systems have failed to has not evolved with the pace of children's development. He said that another lesser accepted theory for the poor academic performance of boys was the growing numbr of women in the workforce, which has led to boys becoming active in less productive activities.
"The education system in general has not kept pace with the way children are developing, mostly boys. One sociaologist argues that when women went out to work, the movement of women out of the house and into the workplace is also a contributing factor that has led to men becoming more distracted and engage in more self-destructive activities."
Hutchinson went on to say that the need to find a sense of identity has also prompted many young men to fall in league with criminal gangs or violent extremists. However, he remains optimistic that collective reasoning as well as social and individual responsibility are key to overcoming these challenges.