Literacy skills are considered foundation skillsin the OECD in that they are essential for other types of learning – people learn to read and continue to learn through reading. According to the OECD report, teenage boys are 50% more likely than girls to not achieve basic proficiency in reading, science and maths.
The reason to why boys and girls differ so much when it comes to acquiring education also has to do with what they do outside of the classroom – while the average 15-year-old girl devotes about five and a half hours to homework, the average boy devotes an hour less, spending the rest of the time playing video games and surfing the internet. The OECD discovered that, among boys who do as much homework as the average girl, the gender gap in reading fell by nearly a quarter.
Once in the classroom, boys are twice as likely as girls to report that school is a waste of time, and they tend to turn up to school late more often. The OECD now urges parents and policymakers to keep boys away from a version of masculinity that ignores academic achievement.
According to the report, girls’ educational dominance also persists after school. Until a few decades ago men were in a clear majority at university almost everywhere, especially in science and engineering. However, lately, women’s enrolment has increased almost twice as fast as men’s. In the OECD report, women now make up 56% of students enrolled, up from 46% in 1985. By 2025 the percentage may rise to 58%.