Havens for learning

2008-06-18 00:00

In a study I conducted on trying to understand factors that support girls’ participation and performance in science and mathematics in South Africa, a key factor that emerged was attendance at boarding school. This is rather ironic given the recent press coverage of how bad certain boarding schools are, to the point where the Education Department is considering closing specific schools. It is also tragic, given that a functioning boarding school provides South African girls with one of their best chances to achieve academically, especially in maths and science.

Secondly, girls in these schools do not have stereotypical views normally associated with girls, about who can and cannot do mathematics. They do not believe that boys are naturally better in maths and science than girls and strongly believe that there is no gender difference. This could be attributed to the fact that two of the schools are girls-only boarding schools.

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