The British Council presented its inaugural Boys In Education Week from May 1-5, 2017, in Jamaica, under the theme: Supporting a Nation of Champion Boys. By turning the spotlight on boys, the British Council provided the opportunity for them to highlight the challenges and opportunities in their school life. Boys In Education Week was developed to coincide with Child Month and is grounded in the Trilateral Champions Project commissioned by the British Council in partnership with the Jamaica Teaching Council. The week of activities seeks to give students more confidence in their ability to contribute responsibly to society while creating a safe space for dialogue and sharing new ideas for teachers and education leaders from Jamaica and the UK.
The British Council’s Trilateral Champions Project started over two years ago and was inspired by a statement made by the former Minister of Education Reverend Hon. Ronald Thwaites, at the Commonwealth Meeting of Ministers of Education. Minister Thwaites noted that the two major challenges he faced in education were the literacy and numeracy rates amongst school-leavers, from the formal school system, as well as the academic performance of boys in schools. The project focuses on the issue of gender equity through the examination of the differential in academic achievement of girls and boys in schools in the UK, the United States (USA) and Jamaica. The data gathered and analysed in our trilateral report research demonstrates that internationally over the last two decades, there has been a consistent gap between the performance of boys and girls, in critical national examinations and a significant under-representation of males at the tertiary level. Furthermore, boys are more likely to achieve lower grades than girls, exhibit more disciplinary problems, repeat a grade, and be placed in special education classes.