Single Sex Schools: Say “Yes” or “No”

Farah Moriam
Posted September 5, 2011 from Bangladesh
A few days ago, I paid a visit to my grandparents’ home where I met two of my cousins. The female cousin is studying in a single-sex school. She is making a good progress there. In her early years of education she used to engage herself only with studies, but in her high school, she is getting different chances to prove her inner talent that was never discovered before. Moreover, she has a blow of confidence in her speech and behavior. She has a hundred percent attendance there as she doesn’t want to miss any fun that she have in the school with her friends and teachers. On the other hand, my male cousin is a bit frustrated about his co-ed school. He is not getting good grades like his sister, and for that he is constantly blaming his teachers. According to him, teachers pay more attention to the girl students because they are attentive towards study and get higher marks than boys in average. They don’t motivate boys to make good results. He is also likely to bunk school because he doesn’t feel comfortable with girls in the class. According to Morin, single-sex education is the practice of educating girls and boys in separate classes or schools (“What is Single Sex Education?”). On the other hand, co-education is the system of education in which girls and boys both attend class or institution at the same time. In single-sex schools, students get a comfortable environment by being all by themselves, whereas in mixed-sex schools, boys and girls learn to approach to each other while studying, which is helpful for their future life. But after observing the condition of my two cousins, I asked myself which type of schools is fruitful for students and the answer that came up in my mind is single-sex schools. Eventually, this system of education is making girls self-confident. On the other hand, through this system, boys are also having a more comfortable environment to be by themselves. Therefore, single-sex education in schools should be encouraged and promoted in every society to make students more dauntless and enthusiastic in studies. Nowadays, the discussion of single-sex schools and mixed-sex schools has become one of the most contentious topics. While some people strongly recommend single-sex education in schools, some people profusely oppose this system. In their opinion, through single-sex education in schools, boys and girls don’t get used to mix up with each other. As a result, they feel embarrassment while interacting with the opposite sex. In future, when they will enter into career and married life, they may face a difficult time to maintain their relationship with their spouse and colleagues. Conversely, I would like to say that this situation can be created in the mixed-sex schools as well. In mixed-sex schools, boys and girls may have animosity against each other, which can lead to bullies and ragging. I myself have graduated from mixed-sex school and a few month ago when I paid a visit there, I saw girls and boys were sitting separately in two different passages in one classroom. The sitting arrangement was not done by teachers, but the students themselves. So, it doesn’t mean that the students in mixed-sex schools share a friendly relationship and mix up freely with their opposite genders. Moreover, some students from single-sex schools commented that they feel more comfortable and safe from bullies when students of opposite sex are not around them (Blair). Therefore, to assure a safe and friendly environment in classrooms, single-sex schools should be supported and recommended. Secondly, it is assumed that boys and girls from conservative families mainly study in single-sex families. Accordingly, the students there will grow-up with an orthodox outlook towards life. They, especially girls, will be unlikely to take contemporary subjects and challenging careers. Having a different point of view I will say that in single-sex schools, girls get more inspiration to take subjects that are mainly taken by boys. According to Vasagar, girls in mixed-sex schools are more liable to take stereotypical occupations in their future than the girls in single-sex schools. What the proponents of co-education fail to acknowledge is, several steps are taken by the authority of single-sex schools to inspire the girls to take subjects like science, mathematics, and physics. So, genuinely, the point of boys and girls having conservative outlook is baseless. Through single-sex education in schools girls are more liable to take demanding subjects, which is helping them to go beyond stereotypes. Apparently, single-sex should not be considered as old-fashioned schools. To make a change in the society, establishing single-sex education is indispensable. Next, some people who have an economical mind may say that building separate schools for boys and girls is expensive for underdeveloped and developing countries. They can’t afford the construction cost of those schools. In addition, two schools in the place of one will need more teachers and staff, which is a matter of expense as well. So, it’s better to make mixed-sex schools that will cost less. In this case, I will say that building separate schools is not wastage of money either. Suppose a mixed-sex school in an area has got 100 seats for a certain class. Therefore, only 100 girls and boys will get the opportunity to study in that class. For the rest of the boys and girls eligible for the class, the government will need to build another school anyhow. On the contrary, if they build two separate schools, both the school will enroll 200 boys and girls in total. Clearly, building two single-sex schools in the place of two mixed-sex schools will cost the same. Again, if a government really needs to save money, they can create separate shifts for boys and girls, where they will study at different times. In this process, the government won’t need to construct separate building or appoint separate staff and faculty. Consequently, single-sex education is affordable for nations of every financial condition. Finally, boys and girls have some biological differences between them. They have individual characteristics and different mentality. Technically, a subject or a topic may seem to one hard and to another easy. So, they will need different amounts of time and effort of the teacher to catch the subject. Moreover, they will not necessarily understand something similarly the way teachers make them understand. Studies and researches also show that boys and girls have biological differences. For this reason, they response and learn in different ways (Blair). Most of the schools that always make the best result in Bangladesh are single-sex schools. It proves the students’ success studying there. Therefore, it’s better to educate boys and girls in separate schools. In a nutshell, single-sex schools provide all the opportunities and the environment that a student needs to be educated successfully. Mixed-sex schools are inclined to create discrimination and confusion among the students that can be avoided through single-sex schools. Moreover, single-sex schools don’t cost more than mixed-sex school. So, governments of developing and underdeveloped countries can undoubtedly undertake single-sex education system in schools. Ultimately, the future of a nation fully depends on its students. To make a change and ensure a bright future for the students as well as the nation, single-sex education in school is highly required.

References: *Blair, Russel. "The Advantages Of Single-Sex Education - Hartford Courant." Featured Articles From The Hartford Courant. 13 Aug. 2010. Web. 05 June 2011.

*Vasagar, Jeevan. "Schools failing to Help Girls Escape Career Stereotypes, Says Ofsted | Education | The Guardian." Latest News, Comment and Reviews from the Guardian | Guardian News and Media Limited, 12 Apr. 2011. Web. 03 June 2011.

*Morin, Amanda. "What Is Single-Sex Education - Defining Single-Gender Education." Parenting Grade-School Children -. Web. 20 June 2011.

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