According to the education charity The Sutton Trust and The Guardian, by the age of 13, girls are more positive about college than boys are. At this age, 65% of girls believe in the importance of higher education whereas only 58% of their counterparts did. On the other hand, 10% of girls don't think continuing their education is important, which is lower than 15% of boys.
This research proves some of the growing fears toward the gender gap of education. Girls are outperforming boys at school, and are 35% more likely to continue on to college than boys.
The Sutton Trust report, called Believing in Better, is based on data from more than 3,000 pupils who were tracked from the age of three, and examines whether aspirations and attitudes towards university affect academic outcomes after GCSE.
The study concludes that the backgrounds of the different students will shape their educational aspirations early on. In order to counter this, the researchers are promoting that teachers push for education and helping their students believe in themselves. Students with poorer backgrounds should have the opportunities to go to higher-level education school so that they get the attention required to believe in themselves and the positive aspects of learning and moving on past high school.
Students from ethnic minority backgrounds typically had higher levels of aspiration than their white peers, and students from neighbourhoods with higher levels of unemployment were five times more likely to consider a university degree as very important than those from areas with lower unemployment.
So, even though background plays a vital role in how students see education's role in their lives, the experiences of their younger education can counter this and push them to have higher aspirations. Girls also tend to have higher aspirations for themselves than boys do.
It comes down to the parents and educators to help children believe in themselves and how education can get them places from a young age, but past that, it is up to the individual students to inspire themselves to places they could never imagine.
Lead Image Credit: Studying; University of Central Arkansas via Flickr Commons