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Shanghai May Open All-boys School to Combat "masculinity crisis"
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2012-3-26-
Title: Shanghai May Open All-boys School to Combat "masculinity crisis"
Release Date: March 25, 2012
Keyword: all-boys school, masculinity crisis

Authorities in Shanghai are considering establishing an all-boys high school in response to a so-called "masculinity crisis" among male Chinese youth.

The idea has caused a stir in Chinese cyberspace, with some hailing the move as a bold method of reform and others decrying it as an act of discrimination.

East China Normal University and the local government of the Huangpu district recently signed an agreement to jointly study the feasibility of establishing an all-boys senior high school that would be affiliated with Shanghai's No. 8 High School.

Lu Qisheng, principal of the high school, said the establishment of the boys school would help to improve boys' academic performance, as many of them do not perform as well as their female peers.

The idea of a masculinity crisis in China has been gaining ground in recent years, with some experts citing the physically and emotionally weak appearance of Chinese boys as evidence of an erosion of masculinity.

Lu said the school will use a special curriculum that caters specifically to young males, targeting their academic weaknesses and helping to cultivate their ability to think logically and endure hardship.

Public opinions have been divided about the proposal, with many posts on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site, in favor and many against the idea.

"Education needs exploration under scientific guidance. Sticking to the old ways can only hinder educational development," read one online post by Wang Junrong, a high school teacher.

Lu said enrollment in the school will be voluntary, adding that the idea of building the school was based on a survey of male high school students and their parents, some of whom have complained that the academic and emotional needs of boys have largely been ignored in schools.

Lu added that boys who attend the school will still be able to interact with their female peers outside of school hours.

Wang Ronghua, president of the Shanghai Education Development Fund, said the government should strive not only to narrow educational gaps between different regions and schools, but also take gender differences into consideration in order to maintain balanced educational development.

Lu said the school will be established "step-by-step," starting with the creation of two experimental classes for 60 boys at the No. 8 High School.

Wang said that while establishing an all-boys school might be a good way to "cure" the masculinity crisis, it will take time for results to emerge.

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