I prefer to remain anonymous – unknown. As a teacher I see my role as one of self-sacrifice. Like a scorpion that gives its life and body to ensure the survival of its young. That scorpion remains anonymous … even to the ones it made the ultimate sacrifice for. Regularly, I would try to inspire my students to be initiators of change. To be willing to think differently – to be willing to challenge “authority” and to seek change. I suppose in some way I made sure of a kind of safety for myself – for if they go about making the changes then I remain safe in the back somewhere. Yet I find myself speaking out about a matter which is sure to cause controversy and potentially land me in another black book somewhere. But I must! I have waited long enough for a champion and none has emerged.
Secondary schools must bear some responsibility for the spate of crimes committed by our young men. To put it succinct – our schools are failing our young men … miserably! The spate of crimes is no coincidence. I am of the view that we are somewhere just past the beginnings. Things are going to get worse, much, much worse. Our boys have to be treated more fairly by the school system. They must be guided to become the leaders, fathers, husbands and role models that society needs. But how can our boys do that when it seems that the entire system is against them! While there is universal secondary education, from the 2006/2007 academic year, our boys do not stand a fair chance of getting into the best schools. Through no fault of theirs, boys simply cannot compete with girls at the common entrance ages of 10, 11 and 12. It simply cannot happen. It is a biological impossibility. To prove my point one would realize that boys do not outperform girls at The Common Entrance Examinations. Never! A fair-dice statistical impossibility. Yet the Common Entrance Examination is used to stream students into the nation’s secondary schools. And of course girls get into the best schools.
It is believed, with good reason, that the best schools have the best resources, the best school plants the best ethos in society even the best parental support, the lowest turnover rate of teachers and so on. Some even think they have the best plots of land. As one moves down the rank of schools, beginning with the Saint Joseph College, noted as the top school, we recognize that the nation’s boys form increasingly higher populations of the lower ranked schools. And even in those schools, an overwhelming majority of leadership positions are held by girls. So what are we doing to our boys? We put them at an unfair and disadvantageous position at age 11, then we place them into schools not recognized as the best, and even in those schools they are largely out of the positive limelight. Do we believe that they will then be model citizens? I do not see how that is possible!
We need to provide boys with better opportunities for growth, development and essentially transformation into the productive citizens we want them to be. More has to be done for boys. Efforts at changing them must be more strategic, intense and quite different to efforts geared towards making girls into productive citizens. That change must be most pronounced in relation to Common Entrance Examinations – where currently the biggest injustice lies. A conversation, geared at providing boys with a fair opportunity to be truly educated, must commence. Whether we consider another secondary school … or two, similar to the model of Saint Mary’s College, or proportional representation at secondary schools whereby 50 percent of new entrants are boys, the needs of boys must be met. Otherwise I fear that we will continue to reap exactly what we sow – increasing criminal activity perpetuated by young men.
— Concerned Teacher