Boys, boys. What shall we do with the boys?

For a long time after Aletta Jacobs was the first Dutch woman to enter higher education in 1870, the focus was on strengthening the position of girls in education. But it does raise the question whether or not boys got enough attention during this period. Klaas-Wybo van der Hoek is dedicated to what he calls the ‘boys problem’ in higher education.

Where girls thrive in the current setup of higher education, boys need more dynamics, room to experiment, and structure. This is why boys perform below their level, fall behind, or prematurely drop out. In the book ‘De ontwikkeling van jongens in het onderwijs’ [The development of boys in education], he argues to acknowledge this ‘boys problem’ in higher education.

To solve this problem, Van der Hoek proposes to improve the collaboration between high schools and universities (of applied sciences). Additionally, more attention should be paid to study counselling, boys could be more involved in deciding on the contents of a programme, and he surprisingly proposes to implement a mandatory gap year between high school and higher education. 

The book ‘De ontwikkeling van jongens in het onderwijs’ was written by Lauk Woltring and Dick van der Wateren, in which they interviewed a number of experts, including Klaas-Wybo van der Hoek. He takes charge of the chapter about boys in higher education.