Girls soar ahead of boys as Junior Cert results gap widens
GIRLS are widening the education gap with boys, new figures released yesterday show.
A breakdown of statistics from the State Examinations Commission shows that females were ahead in terms of ABC grades in the vast majority of subjects at higher level in this year's Junior Certificate exam.
The biggest gap was in classical studies where 92.7pc of girls and 71.1pc of boys obtained an A, B or C grade.
In the languages the biggest gap was in German where 81.5pc of girls and 69pc of boys obtained an A, B or C grade. In English 82.6pc of girls and 70.7pc of boys obtained an A, B or C grade while in Irish, 85.4pc of females and 76.1pc of males did so.
Boys were ahead on higher level papers in material technology, with little difference in technology and metal work.
Failure rates for boys were generally higher than for girls.
Fewer females are also dropping out of school -- 14.6pc of boys have left school early compared with only 8pc of girls.
Just over half of 25-34 year old females (51pc) now have a third level qualification compared with less than two out of five young males (38.6pc), according to a Central Statistics Office (CSO) report.
The gender gap has prompted renewed concerns about the job prospects for young males, especially given the collapse of apprenticeships in the construction sector. The report shows the jobless rate for young early school leavers last year was 50.5pc -- double the overall rate for 18-24 year olds.
Michael McLoughlin from Youth Work Ireland said that the only options for too many young males were the dole or emigration.
"This situation is made all the worse by the failure of the Government to adopt any sort of youth employment strategy. While billions has been spent on the banks and with massive cutbacks we are overlooking one of our basic needs in educating our population.
"This will end up as a long term economic issue with not enough educated people to assist in any recovery when it does arrive," he added.