Both coeducational and one-sex schools exist today, but in recent years, coeducational schools are on the increase globally.
According to my view, having attended Calabar High School in St Andrew and St Mary High School in St Mary, Jamaica, boys and coed institutions respectively, co-education is better for every student. From the outset, it removes shyness, fear and also increases confidence. Some girls or boys hesitate to speak with their opposite gender because of lack of confidence and exposure and this is one of the main problems for a single sex education.
Let’s look at a few advantages of coed schools
1) Offers School Diversity
One of the good things about enrolling students, especially kids in mixed-gender schools is the diversity that this decision offers students. If young boys and girls are given exposure to diversity in an early age, they will find it easier to adapt in different environments when they grow up. The diversity this set-up offers, is significant in teaching other forms of diversity such as cultural and social.
2) Teaches Equality
With both male and female students attending classes together and participating in class activities, these students will be able to learn about equality between men and women. As opposed to single-sex schools, coed students treat students equally with no preference to sex, thus, when assignments are given, there are no special treatments and students are graded and evaluated on their performance and not on gender.
3) Promotes Socialization
Some people who were not educated in coed schools often find it hard to socialize with the opposite sex since they are not used to interacting and talking to members of the opposite sex. Conversely, students enrolled in mixed classrooms experience being with members of the opposite sex and become familiar with existing with them. The familiarity will teach them about co-existence and at the same time prepare them when they get out of school where they will have to deal with different kinds of people.
4) Prepares Students For The Real World
Another advantage of co-educational schools is that students are exposed to a normal environment in the sense that society is composed of both men and women. If they are taught and motivated to interact with both sexes, they can use this skill when they graduate from college and be in the real world where men and women co-exist especially at work.
6) Improves Communication Skills
If a student is studying in a school or university with members of the opposite sex, s/he will be exposed to men and women as well as communicate with them. Since both genders have different ways of expressing themselves, studying in coed schools can help an individual with communication skills.
7) Challenges Sexism
A school with mixed students offers an environment that gives men and women the chance to express themselves and share their views which will teach boys and girls about equality when it comes to sexes. This is because in this educational environment, students are allowed to discuss and debate. As a result, they will be able to explore each other’s perspective and their differences when it comes to views. This will make it easier for them to agree to disagree.
In part two, we will examine the advantages of one-sex over coed schools.
Contributed by HE Prof Colin O Jarrett
Senior News Editor