The perception of education as a male-dominated field is a relic of the past, paving the way for a brighter future regardless of gender. In a remarkable reversal of roles, girls are not only narrowing the gender gap but are demonstrably surprising boys, rewriting the script on academic achievement and overall performance.
In 2022–2023, the results paint a great picture: girls have secured a commanding lead, with pass percentages exceeding the boys by an impressive 10 percent. This trend isn’t isolated; in 2023, the coveted full scholarships for overseas nursing training by His Majesty overwhelming went to girls, further solidifying their ascent to their dedication and commitment to excellence.
According to the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, the total number of candidates registered for the 2023 class VIII examinations was 14,993, from 156 public schools and nine private schools.
Among them, 6,732 were male students and 8,261 were female students. Out of it, only 14,847 have appeared on the board examinations. Of them, 6,648 males and 8,199 females appeared for the examinations.
Females in the board exam significantly outshined boys, with 6,512 females passing compared to 5,299 males accounting for 55.14 percent for females and 44.86 percent for males, demonstrating a notable performance gap.
In December 2023, as per the Bhutan Council for School Examinations and Assessment (BCSEA), for the Class XII examinations, 10,237 candidates registered for the examination from 81 higher secondary schools, including 71 from government and 10 private schools.
Out of 4,756 females who registered for the exams, 319 were from private schools, and 428 registered as supplementary students. Only 4,723 of these registered females appeared as regular students for the exams, including 315 from private schools and 425 supplementary students.
Amongst them, 4,813 female students pass the examinations. Out of these, 252 female students from private school students, 4,144 female students from regular students, and 417 female students from supplementary students passed the examinations, achieving pass rates of 88.10 percent.
Comparably, in 2022, 87.09 percent, reflecting a decrease of 0.71 percent compared to the 87.80 percent pass percentage in 2022.
2022 saw a notable shift in major subject choices, with more females opting for science. While historically this field attached more males, the trend is changing. 1,869 girls registered for science as their major subject, compared to 1,800 boys. Out of these registered students, only 12 females and 25 males didn’t appear in the examinations.
Despite the slightly lower attendance among the female students, they achieved an impressive pass rate of 84.54 percent (1,570 successful candidates) compared to the male students at 80.79 percent (1,434 successful candidates).
This shift highlights a positive trend: females are increasingly challenging traditional stereotypes and demonstrating their competence in science, historically considered a male-dominated field.
The Ministry of Education pointed out that analyzing school-level exam results by gender would likely reveal many schools where females outperform male students. This trend is evident in the Language and Culture Studies Certificate (LCSC-XII). The results show a remarkable performance gap, with females achieving a perfect pass rate (100 percent) compared to male students with a 97.65 percent pass rate.
They attributed the overall better performance of girls to a growing awareness of their self-worth compared to previous generations. This suggests that girls might be excelling academically on a broader scale.
A class 12 graduate student from Bajo Higher Secondary School, Yeshi Choden said, “A bright future is unlocked with education.” Adding that, “My parents also gave up a lot in their lives.” Therefore, “Nurturing the thirst for knowledge and building a supportive learning environment with a desire to push oneself,” emphasized by Yeshi Choden. She swiftly brought up the importance of girls’ efforts to create a bright future.
“The limitless practice questions made things challenging,” said Pema Yangchey from Gelephu Lower Secondary School. “However, my focused effort led to an impressive result, motivating me to strive for even better in the upcoming board exam of class ten too.”
Gradually, the females are putting in the extra effort to excel in their studies. They are motivated by a variety of factors, including a desire to get into good colleges and pursue a particular career.
They attend tutoring sessions, join study groups, and take advantage of all the resources available to them. They are also making sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly, as these habits can all contribute to academic success.
The hard work of these students is paying off. They are earning high grades, getting into top colleges, and winning scholarships. They are also developing the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their chosen careers.
As they ascend the academic ladder, these young women pave the way for a future where their talents and dreams are valued and nurtured.