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In recent years, CARICOM’s Council for Human and Social Development has consistently reported that Caribbean girls are out-performing boys by a way in education, which could have explosive consequences in many regional societies.

Despite these warnings, there has been no change. According to University of the West Indies (UWI) statistics, some 82 percent of the students who matriculated to the institution in the 2007 academic year were women. The general consensus is that the gender imbalance at UWI has now reached a crisis point, which will have serious social consequences if it goes unchecked. Other important education institutions, teachers’ colleges, face a similar situation.

Women are continuously knocking on doors that used to be closed to them; they are increasingly asserting themselves in previously exclusively male roles like provider, protector, and academic. Meanwhile, boys and young men appear to be less focused on education and tend to display a distinctly weaker work ethic in the Caribbean

One of the most frequently cited theories for academic under achievement of your males, refers to a growing culture of rebellion and frustration, particularly among working class young males, arising from their deprivation, and lack of both self-confidence and opportunity. Some regional studies have found that strong anti-school sentiments were common among working class males.

This related to societal norms in the Caribbean that were enforced by peer pressure, which required specific behavior and attitudes for males. To appear macho, social conventions dictated that they should not become too attached to academic work, but to become more streetwise instead.

Stakeholders must quickly find out and correct this imbalance, for fear that the ranks of the regions’ unemployed, underemployed and unemployable young men continue to grow and fester, with disastrous consequences. Caribbean nations need to move quickly, correct the gender imbalance in education before it unravels the fabric society as we know it.

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