How the trend of girls achieving better results than boys emerges in China's schooling

Year: 2001

Author: Hu, Zhongping

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A series of statistics show that girls are better and better than boys in China’s schooling. Good news or bad news, or neither good nor bad? There are different opinions. I think that good and bad coexist in the phenomenon, but it would bring people more worries than joys. Roughly speaking, there are three reasons for this tendency. First, with the rise of women’s social status, girl school enrolments are no less than boy enrolments. Undoubtedly, the increase in the number of girl students would enlarge the proportion of excellent girl students. Second, the sense of destiny peculiar to female students makes them intensely aware that, in a male-dominated society, if they want to obtain as much success as men can achieve, they must make much greater efforts. So female students work even harder than their counterparts. Third, the main teaching objectives in Chinese schools are to master and identify the existing basic knowledge and skills. Comparatively, these objectives are inflexible and stereotyped, and don’t encourage innovation and practice. The examination system build on these objectives is obviously disadvantageous to boys, because, generally speaking, they are open, initiative, lively but absent-minded. Based on the third reason, we might say, that girls are doing better than boys indicates that there exist quite a few disadvantages in China’s education system which urgently needs a series of relevant reforms.

The phrase "female prosperity and male decline" here refers to the phenomenon that in education girls on the whole are doing better than boys. As a matter of fact, this phenomenon has a long history, but before people thought it only existed in primary schools. In recent years, it has extended to secondary schools, and even further, to tertiary education. This phenomenon has attracted the attention of people in the education field for a long time, and there are different opinions about it. Does the "female prosperity and male decline" phenomenon really exist in China’s schooling? If yes, how does it come into being?