Subject: Confidare Research laments the falling grades of boys in schools and supports reservation for boys in St. Stephens College, Delhi.
Recently, the Principal of prestigious St. Stephens College, Delhi has proposed a 40% quota for boys as their enrollment in the college has dropped below 36% as girls take 64% of seats. Confidare Research welcomes this approach to tackle gender imbalance in the colleges and supports the principal for proposing this move courageously. It is a matter of great concern that a lot of affirmative action and positive discrimination of males is harming boys in our educational system. It is important that the nation and the education system should prevent themselves from failing to the needs of boys.
Why are the teachers of St.Stephens College complaining when they can see “all girls” colleges next door? Have not they heard of Chief Minister of Delhi, Shiela Dikshit planning to create university with 100% reservation for women? If people find no offence at all for reservations for women and all women’s colleges, then they should better get comfortable with all male colleges or reservations for boys as well. Out of 60 colleges in Delhi, 15 have 100% reservation for girls; i.e. they are “girls only” colleges.
It is unfortunate, if teachers start gender stereotyping and consider all girls as victims and all boys as privileged kids, who deserve discrimination. It is a matter of grave concern to many parents even as the number of male kids in many reputed schools has drastically dropped even at nursery levels.
“Stop War on Boys”
Many parents in Delhi are extremely concerned as even in the nursery levels some schools are admitting boys in only 10% of their seats and rest 90% are given to girls due to special points given to girls under “girl child” and “first child” categories. Almost 70% of seats are going to girls is most schools at Nursery levels.
- There are exclusive colleges for girls like Miranda House where as exclusive colleges for boys or reservations for boys are considered chauvinistic and absurd.
- Delhi chief Minister Shiela Dikshit is planning for exclusive women only Universities, where no boys will be allowed to join. Under such background, there is a need for reservation for boys in St.Stephens and other colleges if their numbers fall behind 40%.
- Gender Equality must not be one-sided, especially in urban India.
- Most Schools have much more female teachers than male teachers. This gender gap is also affecting performance of boys in the academics.
- Government must create policies to reserve seats in schools for male teachers if their numbers fall below 40%.
- Confidare Research does not wish a situation like in US or Canada where only 40% students in colleges are boys and 60% are girls. Neglecting boys in the name of women’s empowerment can have very disastrous social consequences on a long run.
- We urge Government of India to create a specially committee to investigate the issue of boys falling behind girls in academics in urban India.
Mani Shankar Aiyer, who is opposing this move, fails to see the bigger picture of evolving complex gender equations. He studied at St.Stevens, when it was an all male college. He also is not aware of the situation in US and Canada, where the educational system starting from schools has failed the boys due to “war on boys”. Only 40% students in colleges in US and Canada are boys. Instead of looking at the issue with concern and working to take care of the needs of boys in educational system at least in urban India, these politicians are claiming that it is time to celebrate.
What if Mani Shanker Aiyer had opposed a similar move to reserve seats for girls and celebrated discrimination against girls?
Gender based discrimination cannot be selective and if it’s condemnable against women, the same principles must apply for men also otherwise the talks of gender equality are hollow.
Gender issues involving men and women must not be converted into zero sum games, where boys have to lose if girls have to be empowered. Such experiments have failed in west and they can create even bigger disasters in India.
Confidare Research demands,
1. That Government must create policies to reserve seats in schools for male teachers if their numbers fall below 40%. Similarly, schools and colleges must reserve seats for boys, if their numbers fall below 40%.
2. National Commission for Men be instituted so that issues of men/boys can be studied systematically and recommendations can be provided to Govt.
3. Men’s Welfare Ministry must be established that can work towards implementation of these recommendations.
4. Zero tolerance towards discrimination against men and positive discrimination of men must not be celebrated at all.
5. Gender sensitivity trainings to be arranged for teachers, from the male perspective, so that they can positively contribute towards the formation of a better society.
Parents are concerned about discrimination of boys by schools even at Nursery Levels.
Thanks and Regards
Head, Gender Studies