This UNESCO report, seeks to provide an overview on the global situation on boys’ disengagement from and disadvantage in education. The report also identifies factors influencing boys’ participation, progression and learning outcomes in education, along with a set of recommendations.
The 2030 UNESCO Agenda for Sustainable Development makes the promise to leave no one behind. In order to achieve this, UNESCO have developed the first global report of this scope on boys’ disengagement from and disadvantage in education, bringing together qualitative and quantitative evidence from over 140 countries.
Leave no child behind aims to:
- Provide an overview on the global situation on boys’ disengagement from and disadvantage in education.
- Identify factors influencing boys’ participation, progression and learning outcomes in education
- Analyse responses by governments and partners and examine policies and programmes.
- Make recommendations on how to re-engage boys with education and address disadvantage.
The report comprises four components of research and analysis:
1. Data analysis: Original analysis of statistical data sets for key education indicators.
2. Literature review: Review of all relevant literature on factors influencing boys’ educational access, participation and learning.
3. Policy and programme review: Review of policy and programme documents as well as evaluations.
4. Focused research in five countries (Fiji, Kuwait, Lesotho, Peru and the United Arab Emirates): National case studies on boys’ disengagement from education, based on in-depth mixed-method research
This report is not an overall comparative study of boys and girls, but a focus on countries and contexts where boys are struggling to access education and progress. The report itself is 147 pages, the summary nine pages.
The report's author's write:
While girls continue to face severe disadvantages and inequalities in education, the report shows that boys face similar and different challenges, that they are not a homogenous group and that certain boys need support. As this report shows, addressing boys’ disengagement from and disadvantage in education is not a zero-sum game. Supporting boys does not mean that girls lose out and vice versa. Equal education opportunities benefit both girls and boys and the broader society.
Key findings are organised under the headings. We have selected quotes from the report's very comprehensive findings:
The global situation on boys’ disengagement from and disadvantage in education
Where previously boys’ disadvantage seemed most notable in high- or upper-middle-income contexts at the beginning of the millennium, this has shifted and now includes several low- and lower-middle-income countries. Secondary education is where boys’ disadvantage is most prevalent.
Factors influencing boys’ participation, progression and learning outcomes
Gendered norms and expectations impact on boys’ motivation and desire to learn. In many contexts, school activities and certain subjects are considered at odds with expressions of masculinity, making education unpopular with boys
Responses to address boys’ disengagement from and disadvantage in education
Promising programmes start at a young age before children internalize gender and social norms. They critically examine gender stereotypes, dismantle traditional constructions of masculinity and emphasise the benefits of masculinity that respects gender equality.
Parents, role models and inclusive learning environments are important to make boys thrive.
Exposure to male role models and mentors can dismantle stereotypes and increase boys’ motivation to learn. Whole-school approaches can support inclusive school environments, address learners’ needs, and are particularly effective in changing harmful gender norms
The report lists five recommendations and actions, and are tailored to count specific stakeholders and contexts: Microsystems (Students, parents and peers); Mesosystems (Communities and Schools) and Macrosystems (Government and Development partners).
The Report's recommendations are:
Advance equal access to education and prevent boys' dropout
Make learning gender-transformative, safe and inclusive for all learners
Invest in better data and generate evidence
Build and finance equitable, inclusive and gender-transformative education systems
Promote and ensure integrated, coordinated and system-wide approaches
Read the summary of Leave no child behind: global report on boys’ disengagement from education here:
Read the full report here