Advantages and disadvantages of boys in a government primary coeducation school : Exploring the other side of gender equality

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Professional Development Centre, Karachi


The discussion on gender equality in education is generally centered on girls' lack of access to quality education. Studies such as the ASER 2013 and 2014 report that boys performed slightly better than girls. However, a closer look at boys' performance in the public examinations suggests their underperformance in the examinations held by both public and private sector examination boards. Ashraf (2009), Myhill and Jones (2006) and Hussain, Khattack Khan, Bangash and Nazir (2010) have also found that boys' participation in the teaching learning process has serious challenges in Pakistan. The present research was indeed an attempt to develop insights into the other side of gender equality. In particular, the focus of the study was to explore boys' advantages and disadvantages around their participation in education, both inside and outside the classroom. Importantly, boys' views and their experiences of school and classroom routine practices were examined to determine their advantages and disadvantages. With a qualitative case study method, the study was conducted in a government primary school in Sindh, Pakistan. The primary participants of the study were a group of male students from class four (n=6) and class five (n=6) each. The secondary participants for the study were a group of girls of class four ( n=6) and class five (n=6) each, their two class teachers, the school head teacher, and five parents (mothers and fathers) of the boys and girls who participated in the study.The analysis of the data reveals boys' advantageous position as they had complete access to the spaces and resources inside and outside their school. However, their gender identity also contributed to their disadvantage, as they constantly faced gendered treatment by the teachers. They were punished physically because their teacher believed that they were strong enough to bear this beating. They were also assigned tasks such as gate keeping during the break and quick shopping for teachers from the local market. Importantly, these boys served as teachers' aide-de-camp, with responsibility of their personal chores which proved to be a constant distraction from studies. The study revealed that teachers held negative perceptions of boys because of their poor academic performance. Parents however, expected that boys' education would enable them to become family bread earner in the future. The study recommends that discussion and deliberations on gender equality in education need to problematize teaching learning and school management practices which hinder boys' opportunities for quality educational experience in the schools. Furthermore, schools need to have environments which are equally enabling for boys.

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