The Challenges and Implications of a Global Decline in the Educational Attainment and Retention of Boys

Access and Inclusion September 23, 2017

Over the past two decades, policymakers, international organizations, and scholars focusing on gender and education have largely concentrated their efforts on issues relating to girls. However, results from recent international assessments, coupled with data on higher education enrolment rates, have led to a new concern about the performance and retention of males ‒particularly those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. This report examines the growing gender gap in favor of females in education and its implications for the labor market and society by using both empirical data from PISA and TIMSS and case studies from six countries –Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It concludes by offering some recommendations for policymakers who wish to re-engage at-risk boys in education.


Dr. Natasha Ridge

Dr. Natasha Ridge

Executive director at the foundation, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research

Natasha has a number of publications, including a book entitled Education and the Reverse Gender Divide in the Gulf States: Embracing the Global, Ignoring the Local.

Ms Susan Kippels

Ms Susan Kippels

Acting research manager, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research

Susan’s current research interests at the Al Qasimi Foundation include philanthropy and education, private education in the Gulf, and Arab migrant teachers.

Mr. Brian Jaewon Chung

Mr. Brian Jaewon Chung

Research projects coordinator, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research

Brian’s academic and research interests include public policy analysis and evaluation relating to social and institutional development, particularly in the Middle East.

This report has been reviewed by:

  • Dr. Claudia Buchmann, Professor and Chair at Ohio State University
  • Dr. Gabriella Gonzalez, Senior Social Scientist at RAND Corporation

Research Organization

Al Qasimi Foundation