Boys are at a ‘grossly unfair” disadvantage in the school environment, according to Newstalk presenter Ciara Kelly.
She was speaking after a new study found that teachers routinely hand better grades to girls than boys.
The study, carried out by researchers in Italy and published in the British Journal of Sociology of Education, suggests teachers subconsciously reward students exhibiting traditionally female behaviour, such as quietness and neatness.
It also suggests teachers give girls inflated grades in maths to encourage them as they are often seen as weaker in the subject.
To test their theories, the researchers examined nearly 40,000 teenagers’ test results – some marked by their teachers and some marked anonymously.
In line with previous studies, the anonymous tests saw girls outperforming boys in language while boys did better in maths.
When it came to the marks awarded by teachers; however, girls performed significantly better than boys in both.
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On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Ciara Kelly said boys face a “grossly unfair” disadvantage in schools.
“Education should serve the kids that are going through the system, including boys,” said Ciara.
“I already think boys are at a bit of a disadvantage within education, not just about their marks but about the fact there is, by a wide mile, much more female teachers than male teachers.
“Boys tend to be a bit more boisterous and physical and I think they end up maybe being seen as troublesome when they are maybe just kids being themselves.
“I think there are lots of issues around boys in education and how well we are serving them.”
The Newstalk Breakfast presenter said the problems are creating much bigger issues for society as a whole.
“We have a situation where, in my own former profession of medicine, the vast majority of people who are getting those high points and going into it are girls,” she said.
“We are feminising certain professions and I think that’s bad for society because, I think, men should be able to choose to see a male doctor to talk about private stuff and all that kind of thing.
“So, I think there are issues around this and the lack of fairness bothers me – and that is not to say that I don’t understand that men still run the world and that is unfair too.”
Ciara said we should be doing everything we can to ensure fairness across the board.
“We’re moving increasingly towards continuous assessment which is going to further favour girls and we know from this that the teachers are hardwired to give the girls higher grades,” she said.
“We don’t want to skew education and academia so that girls have some kind of unfair advantage.
“That isn’t right for our boys. I have three sons and a daughter and I would like to see fairness across the board for all of them.”