Advertisement

Exploring the Gender Gap in Reading in Pakistan

  • Shaheen Ashraf Shah
  • Grace Armstrong
Chapter
Part of the South Asian Education Policy, Research, and Practice book series (SAEPRP)

Abstract

Early grade reading interventions aim to build reading skills in the critical early education years through evidence-based program design; however, these interventions often lack a foundational understanding of how gender influences educational practices, thus limiting their potential impact. Through the USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project (PRP), a National Gender Study explored several gendered factors which impact learner and teacher practices, resulting in uneven reading performance outcomes among early grade learners in Pakistan. Employing Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) scores, classroom observations, teacher and learner surveys, and interviews, and grounded in peer-reviewed research, this chapter discusses the gender dynamics of selected reading achievement indicators. In Pakistan, like in many developing countries, the gender gap in reading translates to boys’ underperformance. Examining the multifaceted educational environment makes this gendered landscape visible and nuances performance trends at the regional level. This chapter discusses how social and cultural norms and practices predispose boys to engage less in reading, receive less educational support, and experience more violence at school and at home, correlating to weaker reading skill acquisition. Illuminating these structural barriers, we suggest improvements to early grade intervention design through a gender-informed feedback loop and provide further topics for continuing research.

References

  1. Ahmad, I., Zeb, A., Ullah S., & Ali, A. (2013). Relationship between self-esteem and academic achievements of students: A case of government secondary schools in district Swabi, KPK, Pakistan. International Journal of Social Science and Education, 3(2), 361–369. Retrieved from http://ijsse.com/sites/default/files/issues/2012/volume%203%20issue%202,%202012/paper/Paper-10.pdf.
  2. ASER. (2012). Annual status of education report: ASER Pakistan 2011. Retrieved from http://aserpakistan.org/document/aser/2011/ASERPakistan2011.pdf.
  3. ASER. (2015). Annual status of education report: ASER Pakistan 2014. Retrieved from http://www.aserpakistan.org/document/aser/2014/reports/national/ASER_National_Report_2014.pdf.
  4. Aslam, M., & Mansoor, S. (2011). The private tuition industry in Pakistan: An alarming trend. ASER Pakistan 2011. Retrieved from http://aserpakistan.org/document/aser_policy_briefs/2011/Tution%20Brief.pdf.
  5. Barker, G., & Nascimento, M. (2010). Violence against young children: What does gender have to do with it? Early Childhood Matters, 114, 27–32. Retrieved from https://promundoglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Violence-against-young-children-what-does-gender-have-to-do-with-it.pdf.
  6. Blackwood, C., Flowers, S. S., Rogers, J. S., & Staik, I. M. (1991). Pleasure reading by college students: Fact or fiction? Paper presented at the Mid-South Educational Research Association Conference, Lexington, KY.Google Scholar
  7. Corporal Punishment Act. (2014). National assembly of Pakistan. Retrieved from www.na.gov.pk/uploads/documents/1397730810_455.pdf.
  8. Dutro, E. (2003). Us boys like to read football and boy stuff: Reading masculinities, performing boyhood. Journal of Literacy Research, 34(4), 465–500.Google Scholar
  9. Fan, W., & Williams, C. M. (2010). The effects of parental involvement on students’ academic self‐efficacy, engagement and intrinsic motivation. Educational Psychology, 30(1), 53–74.Google Scholar
  10. Gambell, T., & Hunter, D. (2000). Surveying gender differences in Canadian school literacy. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32(5), 689–719.Google Scholar
  11. Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. (2018, April). Country report for Pakistan. Retrieved from https://endcorporalpunishment.org/reports-on-every-state-and-territory/pakistan/.
  12. Greaney, V. (1980). Factors related to the amount and type of leisure reading. Reading Research Quarterly, 15(3), 337–357. Google Scholar
  13. Greaney, V., & Hegarty, M. (1987). Correlates of leisure‐time reading. Journal of Research in Reading, 10(1).Google Scholar
  14. Hall, C., & Coles, M. (1997). Gendered readings: Helping boys develop as critical readers. Gender & Education, 9(1), 61–68.Google Scholar
  15. Hochweber, J., & Vieluf, S. (2018). Gender differences in reading achievement and enjoyment of reading: The role of perceived teaching quality. The Journal of Educational Research, 111(3), 268–283. Retrieved from https://www-tandfonline-com.gate3.library.lse.ac.uk/doi/pdf/10.1080/00220671.2016.1253536?needAccess=true.
  16. Khan, B. H., & Shaikh, A. S. (2013, September). Analyzing the market for shadow education in Pakistan: Does private tuition affect the learning gap between private and public schools? The Lahore Journal of Economics, 18(SE), 129–160.Google Scholar
  17. Leu, E., & Price-Rom, A. (2006). Quality of education and teacher learning: A review of the literature. Washington, DC: USAID Educational Quality Improvement Project 1.Google Scholar
  18. Loveless, T. (2015, March 26). The gender gap in reading. The Brookings Institute. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-gender-gap-in-reading/.
  19. Morris, D., Tyner, B., & Perney, J. (2000). Early steps: Replicating the effects of a first-grade reading intervention program. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(4), 681–693.Google Scholar
  20. Nonte, S., Hartwich, L., & Willems, A. S. (2018). Promoting reading attitudes of girls and boys: A new challenge for educational policy? Multi-group analyses across four European countries. Large-scale Assessments in Education, 6(5), 1–22. Retrieved from https://largescaleassessmentsineducation.springeropen.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s40536-018-0057-y.
  21. Rabiner, D. L., Malone, P. S., & Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2004). The impact of tutoring on early reading achievement for children with and without attention problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32(3), 273–284.  https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JACP.0000026141.20174.17.
  22. Research Triangle Institute (RTI). (2011). The Early Grade Reading Assessment: Applications and interventions to improve basic literacy. Research Triangle Park: RTI Press Books. Retrieved from https://www.rti.org/sites/default/files/resources/bk-0007-1109-wetterberg.pdf.
  23. Schwabe, F., McElvany, N., & Trendtel, M. (2015). The school age gender gap in reading achievement: Examining the influences of item format and intrinsic reading motivation. Reading Research Quarterly, 50(2), 219–232. Retrieved from https://ila-onlinelibrary-wiley-com.gate3.library.lse.ac.uk/doi/full/10.1002/rrq.92.
  24. Shafi, S. M., & Loan, F. A. (2010). Reading habits among college students of Kashmir across genders. Trends in Information Management, 6(2). Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/78372732.pdf.
  25. Simpson, A. (1996). Fictions and facts: An investigation of the reading practices of girls and boys. English Education, 28(4), 268–279.Google Scholar
  26. Sørensen, T. B. (2015). Review of Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA). Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol.Google Scholar
  27. Tenenbaum, H. R., & Leaper, C. (2002). Are parents’ gender schemas related to their children’s gender-related cognitions? A meta-analysis. Developmental Psychology, 38(4), 615–630. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.38.4.615.
  28. UNESCO. (2015). Education for all review report 2015: Pakistan. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002297/229718E.pdf.
  29. UNESCO & UN Women. (2016). Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. UN Women. Retrieved from http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2016/12/global-guidance-on-addressing-school-related-gender-based-violence.
  30. USAID. (2012). EdData II: Student performance on the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) in Yemen. USAID. Retrieved from https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADZ047.pdf.
  31. USAID. (2015). Nigeria reading and access research activity (RARA): Results of an approach to improve early grade reading in Hausa in Bauchi and Sokoto states. USAID. Retrieved from https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00KVM1.pdf.
  32. USAID. (2016). Measurement and research to support education strategy goal 1: Boys’ underachievement in education: A review of the literature with a focus on reading in the early years. UNGEI. Retrieved from http://www.ungei.org/Boys_Underachievement.pdf.
  33. USAID. (2017). Reading for girls and boys: A national study of gender gaps and opportunities in Pakistan. USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project.Google Scholar
  34. USAID. (2018). USAID/Philippines Basa Pilipinas program: Early Grade Reading Assessment final evaluation report: 2018. USAID. Retrieved from https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00T715.pdf.
  35. USAID/EGRA. (2014). Early Grade Reading Assessments by USAID Islamabad Pakistan.Google Scholar
  36. USAID/EGRA. (2017). Early Grade Reading Assessments by USAID Islamabad Pakistan.Google Scholar
  37. Wagner, D. A. (2011). Smaller, Quicker, Cheaper: Improving Learning Assessments for Developing Countries. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  38. Watkins, M. W., & Edwards, V. A. (1992). Extracurricular reading and reading achievement: The rich stay rich and the poor don’t read. Reading Improvement, 29(4), 236–242.Google Scholar
  39. Whitehead, F., Capey, A. C., & Maddren, W. (1974). Children’s reading interests. London, UK: Evans/Methuen Educational Williams, B. T. (2004).Google Scholar
  40. Woods, S., & Wolke, D. (2004). Direct and relational bullying among primary school children and academic achievement. Journal of School Psychology, 42(2), 135–155. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2003.12.002.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaheen Ashraf Shah
    • 1
  • Grace Armstrong
    • 2
  1. 1.Pakistan Reading ProjectIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.London School of EconomicsLondonUK

Personalised recommendations