SEOUL, March 22 (Korea Bizwire) — Gender equality education is more impactful on the beliefs of boys compared to girls and of younger children rather than older, according to new research.
The Korean Institute for Gender Equality, Promotion and Education (KIGEPE) conducted a study in which the organization investigated whether personal beliefs had changed from before to after the implementation of a pilot gender equality education program at three selected elementary schools last year. Study participants were 2,800 students, teachers and school parents.
At the three elementary schools, gender equality education consisted of creative activities and a variety of child-friendly programs designed to foster gender equal attitudes and behaviors.
The results were positive across the board. Rated on a scale with a maximum of 4 points, students in grades 1 through 3 scored an average 3.48, 0.52 points higher than before they began to learn via the gender equality educational programs at school. Boys showed greater improvement than girls, with an increase of 0.56 points to 0.50, respectively.
Children in grades 3 through 6 showed less dramatic improvement with an increase of 0.17 points. However, their average score was still 3.66 points, higher than that of their younger elementary school counterparts.
The KIGEPE interpreted these findings as showing that the earlier in life a subject begins to receive gender equality education, the greater the effect of “improving the mindset”.
The improvement in teacher scores was impressive, as their average rose by 0.58 points to 3.81. Male teachers in particular showed a large margin of growth, as their average score climbed to 3.66 points from 2.86. The margin of increase for female teachers was 0.49 points.
On the other hand, school parents’s views changed the least, with their “before” score of 3.25 points nudged up to 3.35. The KIGEPE explained that the minimal change was attributable to an insufficiency in gender equality education geared towards the parents, and added that there is a need to launch such programs for fathers.
A teacher from one of the three schools said the success of the gender equality education program was due to the programs and activities that could be carried out side-by-side with the students’ core studies.
The teacher also mentioned that parents had reported seeing a change in how their children expressed greater awareness of gender-based stereotypes that had led to changes in behavior in the home.
A KIGEPE spokesperson said recent changes to South Korea’s 1-12 grade educational curricula have pushed gender equality education to the bottom of the list when teaching the youth about human rights, and further said that educational programs on gender equality must be drastically expanded.