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Single Gender based School vs. Co-Education School

by Vijay Garg
0 comment 9 minutes read

Single-Sex Schools and Co-Ed Schools is a topic which has been a concern for many parents. There are schools which start Single Sex classes after children have reached a certain age while some schools are strictly Single Sex right from the Kindergarten. Co-ed schools have no such restrictions. Both girls and boys study together. It has become a big issue for parents to reach a conclusion as to which one is better, after all, it is a question of their kid’s future. A virtual tug of war seems to go on with both sides giving their respective justifications. There is ongoing conflict among the researchers, teachers, parents and children as to which one is better? Various types of researches have been made and some favour SS (Single Sex) while others favour CE (Co-Ed). Let us understand both points of views and reach a righteous conclusion.
Advantages of Single-Sex Schools?
According to the supporters of SS, the single-sex format creates opportunities which don’t exist in the coed classroom or schools. There are certain strategies which the teachers can employ all-girls classroom/school and in the all-boys classroom/school which are not effective in the coed environment. The evidence to it is the dramatic improvement in grades and test scores 
Subjective performances have also been reported by the researchers who support SS. In their findings, there is a boost in the performance of boys particularly in English and foreign languages as well as improvement in girls’ performance in maths and science.
Boys who were not into sports did not feel exposed in single-sex classes. Such boys felt at ease and comfortable, that they did not experience bullying or aggressive behaviour from other boys, and that they were not intimidated by the atmosphere in ‘All-Boys’ schools.
Boys tend to be less competitive in the absence of girls and become more collaborative in a single-sex setting. They worry less about what the girls might think of them and be themselves. Activities like poetry and playing in an orchestra are not a taboo as opposed to a marching band.
Another benefit is that girls at single-sex schools were more inclined to take subjects such as advanced maths and physics which are traditionally considered as boy’s domain. This is because they didn’t face criticism from boys because of their choice of subjects. This not only broke the stereotyped attitude but also boosted the confidence in girls.
Boys and girls in single-sex schools were more likely to be better behaved and to find learning more enjoyable and the curriculum more relevant as there were lesser distractions. 
Lots of studies show that girls and boys do better academically at single-sex schools. The theory behind it is that girls mature faster than boys and it can be difficult for teachers to accommodate the large differences in cognitive, social and development growth rates of boys and girls aged between 12 and 16.
Students in single-sex schools have a significantly more positive attitude toward learning. The boys were able to focus on academics, and so were the girls.
Another area favouring SS is discipline. In a certain study, a switch to single-sex classrooms had a dramatic effect, instantly. Discipline referrals dropped from about 30 per day to just one or two per day. The change in the atmosphere happened overnight.
Another factor is that of Absenteeism. In the case of Single-Sex school, it dropped from 2 per cent before the switch to 7 per cent.
Researchers found that students at single-sex schools had not only superior academic achievement, but also had higher educational aspirations, more confidence in their abilities, and a more positive attitude toward academics, than did students at coed high schools. And, girls at the single-sex schools had less stereotyped ideas about what women can and cannot do. 
Graduates of single-sex schools were more likely to go to a prestigious college, and more likely to aspire to graduate school or professional school, than were graduates of coed schools. 
Girls tend to be more competitive in a singles sex setting as lose their shyness and begin to take risks. They openly participate in sports like field hockey and soccer with gusto without worrying about appearing like tom boys.
Another problematic area of Co-Ed schools is teenage pregnancy which is rampant in many parts of the world. Girls at such age are not ready for such physical and mental transformation. It burdens them with unnecessary responsibility which is a distraction from studies.
Romantic relationships and sexually transmitted diseases are another disadvantages of Co-Ed schools. Such deviations discourage academic pursuits.
Advantages of Co-Ed Schools
The supporters of CE as opposed to SS view, prove that boys do better in the classroom if girls are present. This is done to give a good example of themselves and to be in the good eyes of the girls.
School life education is just one part of life and the education of life beyond the school is a major part of life and by isolating either sex the education is lacking.
Social skills are easily acquired in a co-educational environment. This is because it is reflective of society. Research in this area shows that students from single-sex schools are more hesitant about expressing their views in front of members of the opposite sex and have more trouble forming friendships with the opposite sex as well.
The reason cited for the need to fight teenage pregnancies and poor performance is irrelevant. It will not make a difference because teenagers socialize outside the confines of school anyway.
Schooling boys and girls together prepare them better for life after school
There is also no guarantee that a bad single-sex school will be better than a good co-ed school.
There is a tendency amongst the pupils of same-sex schools to acquire a same-sex relationship which if not discouraged can escalate into large proportions and will change the social structure. This can have several unseen consequences apart from the high risk of AIDS and STD’s
In another study based on an interview with the students, the socialization of pupils leads to improved social and personal development. Both girls and boys in co-ed school were reportedly more self-confident, well-balanced and better equipped to make new friends than their counterparts in single-sex schools. 
Single-sex school suffer from student diversity. It may be easier for students to do well academically at a single sex institution but the real world is not single sex. It might prove tough for students from single sex schools to adjust to a co-ed work atmosphere after they graduate.
Having both men and women in classes allow students of both sexes to interact with a wider range of people and learn how to work with and talk to people of the opposite sex.
Co-education is the most natural form of education and that it has distinct advantages for girls and boys alike. 
An all-female institution appears to be a form of escapism and a more of a refuge from confrontation with men.
It helps to break down the misconceptions of each sex about the other and provides an excellent foundation for the development of realistic, meaningful and lasting relationships in later life
The reason for Distraction being given is irrelevant as no matter where you go there will be distractions. It is natural for either sex to get distracted by each other in the class and who doesn’t get distracted by something that looks better than books. These experiences are a part of growing up and they have their own values in an individuals life.
In a Co-Ed environment, pupils have a better idea of how to treat the opposite sex. It also implies a sense of comfort around both sexes.
A revealing research on single-sex versus coeducation is – Single-Sex Versus Coeducational Schooling: A Systematic Review. This study was commissioned by the federal Department of Education and was released in 2005. According to it, there is not enough evidence to suggest single-sex education is better than coeducation or vice-versa. 
Single-Sex School Vs Co-Ed School – The Better One?
School are one of the primary agents of socialisation. Single-sex schools may seem to have some academic benefits but academic is just one part of an individuals life. And 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. Further, more extra-curricular activities allow an active participation of teachers, parents and pupils to work side by side throughout the year. They allow boys and girls to mix socially in a very natural way. Such activities lead to the development of natural relationships between boys and girls because mixing is a by-product of the event. And since teachers are present on such occasions the children are being well supervised.
A lot of efforts have been spent over several generations in advancing the equality of the sexes. Beginning with the women’s suffrage movement and continuing through to the present day many legal and social barriers to women’s equality with men have been removed. Much progress has been made with this practice in mind. Coeducation which is based on that laudable theme of equality are symbols of that equality. The single-sex school sound opposite of equality of treatment.
There are supporters and detractors of both single-sex and co-education schools. And it seems baffling for parents to come to a decision as to which one is better. But the fact is that irrespective of whether it is a single-sex or a mixed school, finally it is the expectations of society and the family that influence the development of a child. Gender is not an important issue in education as it is being implied rather it is effective schooling which aims for not only excellent academic standards but also aims to develop the full potential of each individual in a non-partial environment.

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