It is beyond question that girls are moving forward in Bangladesh today. In the results of this year's SSC examination, the pass rate of girls (80.35%) is slightly higher than that of boys (78.40%). The number of boys (55,701), however, achieving GPA-5 is higher than that of girls (54,928). Girls did better in the exams of the past few years, too. There are positive signs of women's progress worldwide including here in Bangladesh. Yet, the progress is very slow in most of the sectors except in education. So, girls doing better than boys in education is no proof of their moving ahead everywhere. It, however, has drawn attention and provided food for thought here and elsewhere.

In consequence of this moving ahead by girls and boys falling back, Kashinathpur Bigyan School and College at Kashinathpur in Bera Upazila, Pabna, organized an open discussion programme on the 4th day of this month on 'Causes behind Boys' Better Performance than Girls and Possible Solutions'. A good number of teachers, politicians, journalists, social workers, parents and students attended the programme and freely discussed many sides of the matter and gave suggestions in this regard. It may also be worth mentioning here that women comprised the majority of the audience in this programme.

Freedom fighter and senior teacher S M Fazlul Haque presided over the meeting and Engineer Anwarul Azim Khan moderated the discussion programme. Dr. Mahbubur Rahman, Professor of chemistry at Rajshahi University, Dr. Abdul Mazid, Associate Professor, Govt. Edward College, were present as key speakers. Mr. MM Shahabuddin Tutul, Principal Nazrul Islam, Principal Abu Bakar Siddique, Principal Anwar Shahin, Professor Abul Kalam Azad, Professor Mahbub Hossain, Journalist Aminul Islam Jewel, Journalist Alok Acharya, Headteacher Abul Kashem Pramanik, Headteacher Hafizur Rahman Hafiz, Headteacher Shafiqul Islam Tuku, Headteacher Faruk Hossain, Headteacher Emdadul Haque, Headteacher Shahida Ummul Ara Begum and story writer Sheikh Shamim discussed the issue from various angles. In addition to them, 20 teachers from nearby schools and colleges were also present in the programme.

Speakers said, boys are lagging behind because they are failing to make use of the opportunities and their parents are failing to guide and keep them under proper control. Lack of awareness on the part of parents about lives of the teenagers, decline of morality, inadequate role of mothers in the education period of their children, misuse of information technology and addiction to drugs are the other causes behind the lack of success of boys in comparison with girls.

According to most of the discussants, this is a positive sign that girls are moving ahead in education from primary to university levels. But it is also a matter of worry that boys are slightly falling back. They said, in most cases girls are achieving good results from Dean's award at the university to GPA-5 at school level. Girls' attendance rate in schools and colleges are better than boys. They all hoped that boys would do better than now and be equal with girls in the coming days.

Teachers specially warned parents against indulging their boys with the latest model of mobile phones and such fads. They urged guardians to give proper attention to their sons and daughters equally. Parents must remain aware about where and with whom their sons spend their time. It often happens that they keep their eyes shut to what their sons are doing while not in school until it is too late.

Some students said, they needed to carry many burdens of their families, but parents did not give due attention to their problems, instead demanded good results only. They also complained that their guardians did not stand beside them with friendly support and helpful suggestions during their tumultuous period of adolescence.

All guardians expressed their positive opinions about the significance of such a discussion programme in making wide awareness about the strength as well as the problem prevailing in our current education system.

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