UNICEF Ranks NZ Education Among World's Most Unequal For Boys And Girls

A Unicef study has found that New Zealand's education system is one of the most unequal in the world - especially between boys and girls

New Zealand girls outperformed boys in reading at age 10 by 4.2 percent - a bigger gap than in any other developed country except Malta.

The gender gap widened to 6.5 percent by age 15, but the gap widened even more between ages 10 and 15 in several other countries so by age 15 New Zealand's gender gap was only 10th-widest out of the 28 rich countries that measured reading at both ages.

Overall, the report ranks the reading gaps between New Zealand's top tenth and a bottom tenth of students second-widest after Malta at age 10 and sixth-widest out of 38 countries at age 15.

New Zealand has also scored badly in previous Unicef reports that created league tables for child poverty, child deaths by injury and child well-being.

This is its first league table on educational inequality and is based on 2016 data on 10-year-olds from the Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS) study and 2015 data for 15-year-olds from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Another report based on the same data last week found that New Zealand's education outcomes were becoming more equal, but only because our top students' scores in PIRLS and PISA have been falling faster than our bottom students, whose scores actually improved slightly in the latest PISA survey

The gender gap in favor of girls is only significant in reading. New Zealand boys still do better than girls in maths at age 15, and there is no significant gender difference in science at age 15 or in maths or science at primary school.

But Unicef says it focused on reading "because reading is a fundamental gateway skill for achievement in many other academic subjects".

It says girls have higher expectations than boys of gaining a university degree in most rich countries and are more likely to go on to tertiary education. ( Source: )

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