Amid several crises threatening students’ attendance at schools around the world, a recent Unesco report notes that boys are at greater risk than girls of dropping out of education.
While the report highlights the issue as a “global phenomenon”, some of its regional comparisons show that boys in Arab states are at particular risk.
The report, titled “Leave No Child Behind: Global Report on Boys’ Disengagement from Education”, attempts to shed light on the conditions that cause this phenomenon and urges nations to take steps to counteract it.
Its authors studied data on boys and education in over 140 countries. They found that, while girls remain the majority of children out of school at the primary level, boys face challenges too and need support.
“Supporting boys does not mean that girls lose out and vice versa,” the report says. “Equal education opportunities benefit both girls and boys and the broader society.”
Among the factors identified in the report as leading to boys’ disengagement are poverty, the need to work, armed conflicts, forced migration, corporal punishment, and physical violence.
But the problem exists even wealthy societies. In a rare dilemma, “the government’s guaranteed employment policy for Kuwaitis seems to be a motive for young students to refrain from continuing their studies,” says the report.