I posted something yesterday and it was full of mispells and unclear so i pulled it down and reworked it a bit. Here it is:
In Belize, the relation between boys and school is complicated by 1) the Catholic Church dominating the education sector, which means that the State has very little control over the curriculum and enrollment -- the religious schools tend to expel boys much more than girls because their are more unruly; 2) the fact that single mothers dominate the demographics in deprived neighborhoods and their tendency to scholarize their daughters more than their sons, who are better at bringing some money home; 3) the fact that girls DO NEED an education to get a job in Belizean society (often in the civil service, or the school system) while boys will raise or fall largely based on other factors (family wealth, connections, business orientation, street smarts, physical strength...).
The small business community and the crime world (there's a continuum between these two, with lots of economic crimes) are dominated by men, while the public sector is staffed predominently by women.
In this context, a poor mother's decision to invest good money into her daughter's education but ask her son to fend for himself in the streets and bring back some dow, that decision makes perfect economic sense, in terms of better return on investment.
But it does nothing to solve the problem. Many boys get out of school early and the poorest fall prey to gangs. Kids not even 10 years old are thrown in the deep end of an hyper-violent gang culture. Horrifying stories of kids being murdered, of kids killing others, or killing themselves to avoid it all...
I was left with the impression of a divided society, struggling to maintain common ground, where hyper-violence is a manifestation of inequalities and a failed public education system, aggravated by a macho culture and the global drug trade. This in a country that looks like paradise most of the times / places.
Parts of Mexico seem to be going this way too.