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Boys only class in Shanghai stirs debate

(Chinadaily.com.cn)

16:15, April 24, 2012

A high school in Shanghai set up a boys only class, in order to better address the "boy crisis" in schools, sparking a heated debate, Beijing Times reported Tuesday.

Shanghai No 8 Senior High School set up an experimental boys only class and started recruitment on April 18.

Girls outnumber boys in many schools because they get better test scores, and many boys are said to be losing their masculinity. This is becoming a social concern, according to media reports.

The boys only class aims to allow boys to fully realize their potential, said schoolmaster Lu Qisheng. "Some curricula will be specially designed for boys to explore their potential."

Voices differed on the issue, with some approving and some opposing.

"Boys are at a disadvantage in studying compared with girls. It will be harmful for their development and the nation's future," said Wang Ronghua, former president of Shanghai Academy of Social Science. "Boy crisis shows there are problems in education and evaluation systems that hamper boys' activeness and advantages."

But many parents worry that a single-sex environment will affect their children's ability to communicate with the opposite sex.

Yin Zongyu, a former teacher at a girls school, said the move should not be blindly promoted. "Single-sex schools have their own advantages and disadvantages. Boy crisis cannot be solved by simply putting boys together."

"Teachers' pay and social status should be improved so that the male teacher ratio can be raised. Education from teachers of both sexes is good for students' personality and character," added Yin.

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