KARACHI, Nov 3: “There’s this general perception of Pakistan being a male-dominated society but the fact is that girls do much better in academics here than boys,” said Sajida Baig of Notre Dame Institute of Education, Pakistan.

The young educationist and researcher was presenting her paper on the effect of motivational techniques on eight grade students studying in private schools in Karachi, on the concluding day of the international conference ‘In search of relevance and sustainability of educational change’ organised by Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund and Higher Education Commission on Saturday.

Ms Baig said that several factors contributed to the better performance of girls as compared to boys in studies. “The difference in grades usually starts gaining prominence at the secondary level especially when the children are 13 or 14 years old and usually in grade eight,” she said, adding that this was why she had focused on this particular age group in her research.

“The biological factors come into play and girls mature earlier than boys,” said Ms Baig. “The teachers find it easier to interact with girls since the boys of that age are rowdy. The girls also get influenced more easily.”

Another reason, said the educationist, was our own social values and stereotypical attitudes of people. Most teachers in our country are also women so they also feel more comfortable dealing with girl students in their classrooms.

She said that the main objectives of her study were to investigate the perceptions of students about the effect of motivational techniques on their academic performance to highlight the importance of the process of effective teaching and to develop contextual literature for further research.

“I first looked at all the relevant research after which I developed my own questionnaire to give to 119 students of five private coeducation schools in Karachi,” she explained.

While sharing the findings of her research the researcher said that the results showed that the academic scores of girl students were higher than boys as a result of motivational techniques, such as those involving creativity skills, immediate feedback, cooperation and goal setting in teaching and learning process.

“Hence, motivating the students is essential for quality education,” concluded Ms Baig, while advising the teachers to treat and address students of both genders equally while also trying to make the lessons gender responsive.

“The school administration, too, should extend equal opportunities to both girls and boys despite their varied interests and attitudes,” she added.

Earlier in the day principal of St Joseph’s College for Women, Karachi, Dr Bernadette L. Dean presented her keynote address on ‘Issues and challenges in promoting peace and social harmony through education in Pakistan’. Dr Dean’s speech critically analysed the educational steps taken for promoting peace and social harmony at both the national and local levels and suggested future actions required for education to empower young people to achieve a just society in which the human rights of all are valued and respected.

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