Archived Webinar

Educational Underachievement Among Boys and Men

In more than 100 countries, boys and men are less likely to be in secondary and tertiary education.  Learning poverty rates (the proportion of children unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10) are higher for boys than for girls in all regions and almost all countries of the world. This has critical implications for countries as they strive to build human capital and achieve inclusive and equitable quality education for all (SDG 4). A new report from the World Bank takes stock of educational underachievement among boys and men, examines the evidence on contributing factors, and explores what has been done to address the phenomenon.

The report examines educational underachievement in terms of low levels of participation in education, low levels of completion or graduation, and low student learning outcomes. Factors related to educational underachievement among boys and men are discussed within the lenses of labor markets, social norms, and education system processes. Interventions to improve educational achievement for boys and men are explored in the report, and a research agenda is proposed to accelerate a deeper understanding of the issues of male educational underachievement at the global and national levels and the potential solutions.

About the Presenters

Jaime Saveedra, Global Director, Education Global Practice, World Bank

Jaime Saveedra leads the Education Global Practice at the World Bank Group. Before he served as Minister of Education of Peru from 2013 through 2016. Throughout his career, Mr. Saavedra, a Peruvian national, has led groundbreaking work in the areas of poverty and inequality, employment and labor markets, the economics of education, and monitoring and evaluation systems. Prior to assuming his role as Minister for Education of Peru, he had a ten year career at the World Bank where, most recently, he served as Director for Poverty Reduction and Equity as well as Acting Vice President, Poverty Reduction & Economic Management Network. Mr. Saavedra holds a Ph.D in economics from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in economics from the Catholic University of Peru.

Hana Brixi, Global Director, Gender Group, World Bank

As Global Director for Gender, Hana Brixi leads a global effort to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. She sets the overall direction for the World Bank Group’s Gender knowledge agenda, drives Bank-wide efforts for results in closing gender gaps, and fosters partnerships with public and private sector stakeholders toward innovations at scale. In her career, Ms. Brixi has contributed to advances in human development, public finance, and governance. As Manager of the Human Capital Project, she led a global effort to protect and invest in people with an emphasis on girls’ and women’s empowerment. Prior to this, she held managerial and leadership positions in the Social Protection & Jobs and Governance Global Practices and in the Middle East & North Africa, East Asia & Pacific, and Europe & Central Asia regions. Based in China during 2001-10, she also served as World Health Organization’s Manager and UNICEF Chief in China. Ms. Brixi has published articles in professional journals and written several books on economic development, including Trust, Voice, and Incentives on service delivery and Government at Risk on fiscal management.

Michel J. Welmond, Former Program Leader, World Bank

Dr. Welmond has over 30 years of experience as a researcher, teacher, practitioner and manager in the field of education in developing and emerging countries. He has designed and implemented programs worldwide, applying his expertise in a broad range of areas within education systems: sector finance, teacher management, institutional reforms, and gender equality. He has worked at all levels of education systems, as well as with sector-wide and inter-sector approaches. Dr. Welmond was a Program Leader in Vietnam and in Côte d’Ivoire where he coordinated the World Bank’s education, health, social protection, and employment programs. In Côte d’Ivoire, he oversaw the programs in Benin, Guinea, Togo, as well as that of Côte d’Ivoire. As Program Leader, he was also the gender focal point for these countries. Dr. Welmond retired from the World Bank in June 2021.

Laura Gregory, Senior Education Specialist , World Bank

Laura Gregory is a Senior Education Specialist in the World Bank’s Education Global Practice. Her work with the World Bank includes leading or supporting education projects and studies across the GCC, MENA, and elsewhere on topics such as learning poverty; teachers and teaching; assessment; education statistics, indicators, and research; school evaluation; and blended learning. She has authored, co-authored, and contributed to numerous reports including “Advancing Arabic Language Teaching and Learning: A Path to Reducing Learning Poverty in the Middle East and North Africa”, “Expectations and Aspirations: A New Framework for Education in the Middle East and North Africa”, and “Saudi Arabia: Moving High-stakes Examinations Online with AI Technology.” Previously, Ms. Gregory provided support to the World Bank’s EdStats platform.

Prior to joining the World Bank, Ms. Gregory worked as a statistician in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and in the Scottish Government’s Education and Health Departments. Her career began as a secondary school mathematics teacher, with 8 years’ experience in Australian and Scottish schools. Ms. Gregory holds a Masters in Statistics and a Bachelor of Education.

Gary Barker, CEO and co-founder, Promundo

Gary Barker, PhD, is a leading global voice in engaging men and boys in advancing gender equality and positive masculinities. He is the CEO and co-founder of Promundo-US, which has worked more than 10 years in nearly 40 countries. He is also co-founder of Instituto Promundo in Brazil, which began work on healthy masculinities and male allyship more than 20 years ago. Gary is co-founder of MenCare, a global campaign working in more than 50 countries to promote men’s involvement as caregivers, and co-founder of MenEngage, a global alliance of more than 700 NGOs. He co-created and leads the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), the largest-ever survey of men’s attitudes and behaviors related to violence, fatherhood, and gender equality. He is a co-author of the 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021 State of the World's Fathers reports. He has advised the UN, the World Bank, numerous national governments, and key international foundations and corporations on strategies to engage men and boys in promoting gender equality. In 2017 he was named by Apolitical as one of the 20 most influential people in gender policy around the world. He is an Ashoka Fellow and received the Voices of Solidarity Award from Vital Voices for his work to engage men for gender equality. He holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology and a Research Affiliate position at the Center for Social Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Jyotsna Jha, Director, Centre for Budget and Policy Studies

Jyotsna Jha has been heading the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), Bangalore for more than a decade. She has led a number of research initiatives and has a few co-authored books, several chapters and papers to her credit. She has written mainly on the issue of equity in education, and in particular on gender and education, boys' underachievement and women’s empowerment. In recent years., she has also been engaged with the issues of public policies and finance in general and gender budgeting and public spending on children in particular. Trained as an economist, Jyotsna has significant experience of working on development related issues. Prior to joining CBPS she worked as an adviser to the Social Transformation Programmes Division at Commonwealth Secretariat in London, from where she undertook research and policy advocacy in a large number of countries. She has served as a member of the Global Advisory Committee for UN Girls Education Initiative – UNGEI for four years. She has also been a member of several committees and Task Forces in India.

William G. Brozo, Emeritus Professor of Literacy, George Mason University

William G. Brozo is an Emeritus Professor of Literacy in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He is the author of numerous articles and books on literacy development for children and young adults, including three volumes focusing on improving the literacy abilities of boys: To Be a Boy, To Be a Reader; (International Reading Association, 2nd ed); Bright Beginnings for Boys (IRA); Engaging Boys in Active Literacy: Evidence and Practice. As an international consultant, Dr. Brozo has provided technical support to teachers and teacher leaders from the Balkans to the Gulf. For several years, he was a part of team of consultants for USAID providing training and assistance to teachers in Macedonia. He has been a member of a European Union funded grant team (BaCuLit) that developed literacy curriculum and provided professional development for teachers across Europe. His other recent international activity includes work in Romania, where he has provided consulting on the Reading to Learn project and the ROSE project for teachers and teacher leaders, and as an expert evaluator of ELINET, a pan-European literacy policy network, on which he currently serves as a board member. In the Gulf, he has given trainings and speeches for the Ministries of Education in Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. And in Bahrain, he was a member of an expert review panel for the University of Bahrain’s Teachers College. Dr. Brozo was also a member of the working groups of the Learning Metrics Task Force sponsored by UNESCO/Brookings responsible for establishing global learning and assessment standards.

Noah Yarrow, Senior Education Specialist, World Bank

Noah joined the World Bank in 2010 as a part of the Latin American and Caribbean education team. He is currently based in Jakarta and works on education efficiency and quality issues in Indonesia and East Timor. Noah previously worked on operations and research in Lebanon, Tunisia and other countries in the Middle East and North African region, with a focus on student learning outcomes, teacher practices and refugees. Prior to joining the Bank, Noah worked in the Russian Federation, Central Asia, South and East Asia for agencies such as EDC and ICRC, in addition to teaching for several years at the primary and secondary levels. Noah holds a Master’s Degree in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a Master’s of Adolescent Education from Pace University.

Target Audience

World Bank staff and consultants interested or involved in education and gender-related projects and programs

Questions Submitted


- Jul 20, 2022
good content


- Apr 10, 2022


- Mar 9, 2022
Good information.


- Mar 8, 2022

Mohammad Nadir

- Mar 6, 2022
Good information.

jose luis

- Mar 6, 2022
muy bueno
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