There are advocates and detractors for both single-sex and co-education schools. Which is the right choice for your child? Read on and find out the various facts about single-sex or co-education schools.
Tanya has enrolled her daughter in an all-girlsschool, believing that she will be protected from the 'negative' influence of the opposite sex. Vipul sends his son to a school where the only females are the teachers. He feels that this will instil more discipline and seriousness in his son. Single-sex schools have existed since time immemorial. Education
for girls in India could not have commenced without the necessary compromise of debarring boys from such schools. Yet in these times when men and women interact freely in every sphere of life, has the time arrived to do away with single-sex schools?
The Case for Single-sex Schools
We all know that men and women are made differently. The patterns of brain development, hearing sensitivity and response to stress differ in girls and boys. In addition, girls tend to mature faster than boys. A single-sex school can address these gender differences. Pupils in such an environment may havemore opportunity to experiment. In a mixed classroom, girls may be promoted for activities such as dance and music while they get sidelined for science and math competitions. In a single-sex environment, there can be no such discrimination. A single-sex school may be a better option for your child if you are exceedingly worried about teenage dating
Some people feel that single-sex education is beneficial only to girls. However, others have proposed that boys are not categorised into 'jocks' or 'geeks' in single-sex schools, thus promoting overall development.
A study of 270,000 students was conducted in Australia over twenty years. The researchers claimed that boys and girls performed between 15 and 22 percentile points higher on standardized tests when they went to separate schools. However there are numerous studies to prove the converse as well. The pro-single sex school studies state that teachers are partial to boys and boys are more dominant in mixed schools. This problem is obviously eliminated in single-sex schools, with girls automatically assuming all leadership positions. The question here is will we have equality in classrooms only if it is in an enforced condition?
In Favour of Co-education
The main argument in favour of co-education is that it offers the most natural environment for learning. A study conducted in the UK showed that girls from co-educational schools perform better than those from single-sex schools. They also rate higher than boys from any kind of school. According to the report, students themselves feel that co-education is more conducive for social and personal development. The students expressed that learning in a co-ed school had made them more confident, balanced and sociable.
Participating together in school activities encourages a healthy friendship
between members of both sexes. A mixed school prepares your children for their future where they will be required to deal extensively with the opposite sex. It prevents them from harbouring erroneous impressions about the other sex. It is also observed that co-ed schools
may offer more freedom in terms of subjects and pursuits. In the modern era, such schools can help in breaking sex norms and discouraging sexism. It is important to note that equality between the sexes does not mean they become clones of each other. It merely denotes that both sexes are given equal opportunity to express themselves.
The truth is that life seldom offers uniformity. Co-ed schools teach students of both sexes to adapt to different learning styles and learn from each other. A single-sex environment may promote unhealthy competition. It is argued that the benefits that studies have concluded from single-sex schools may be due to other factors.
There are some people who believe that irrespective of whether it is a single-sex or a mixed school, finally it is the expectations from society and the family that influence the development of a child. However, school remains one of the primary agents of socialisation. Single-sex schools may have certain benefits but the fact remains that you cannot shelter your child from the opposite sex forever. Learning happens throughout life and a lot of this learning occurs through inter-sex interaction.