Muscat: Education experts in Oman are of the view that girls perform better than boys in class, because they are more sincere.
A recent report by the World Bank stated that women outnumber men in universities, with an average of 108 women attending university for every 100 men across the Middle East. In Oman, that figure is slightly higher, with 137 women pursuing tertiary education for every 100.
“The reason more women attend university as compared to men is because they are more sincere, especially when it comes to the local Omanis,” said Prashant Singh of the Training and Development Department of the Waljat College of Applied Sciences.
“When I walk into a class, which features 30 students; at least 80 per cent of them will be women, especially in fields, such as biotechnology, and I’ve seen that they always take notes, and ask questions and counter-questions, as opposed to the male students, who just rely on photocopied notes,” he added.
“The reason for this is that women here prefer to study first and get employment later, but most males prefer to finish their diplomas and undergraduate studies and get a job immediately after that because there is more pressure on them to get a job,” said Singh.
And the number of women in education is translating to more women entering the workforce, he added.
“If you look at the service industry, a lot of the jobs are dominated by women,” revealed Singh. “Walk into any bank, or any office that is run by Omantel or Ooredoo and it’s mostly women behind the desks. Earlier, this was not the case, but women are entering the workforce more actively.”
A similar sentiment was echoed by Eliot Wright, director of Pathway Programmes at Muscat University.
“Culturally speaking, there is more pressure here on women to outperform their male counterparts because it is easier for the latter to get a job here,” he revealed. “The industry is such that it is more easily geared for males to get a job, so maybe they don’t take education as seriously as the women.”
“What I’ve seen is that many of our undergraduate programmes have enrolment numbers featuring more women than men,” added Wright. “But to be honest, this is a global phenomenon. I used to previously work in China, where women used to outperform men in some roles there as well, and it’s a similar situation back home in the U.K.”
“Some core occupations, such as civil engineering and manufacturing, will always be male-dominated, but women doing better in the classrooms in translating into more women excelling at work as well,” said Wright.
Dr. Aleksandar Djordjevic, director of the Centre for Continuing Education at the Modern College of Business and Science added that the reason behind women excelling stemmed from a cultural source. “In Oman, as is the case in the rest of the Middle East, there is a cultural inclination that the women must stay at home and take care of the children, and because of this, they feel a need to perform better at school and at university to get noticed,” he said.
“The women know that it is not very easy for them to get a job, and they realise that working hard in the classroom will give them a better chance outside,” he added.