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Does co-education corrupt the youth?

I would like to raise the topic "does co-education corrupt the youth?" Because it is of vital importance in the present educational system all over the world. I don’t know what exactly is happening all over the world. But I know pretty well the situation in Andhrapradesh, India, here there are both co-educational and separate schools for boys and girls.The situation is the same at the intermediate level. Some think that co-education is the best and some favour separate schools for boys and girls especially at the secondary and at the intermediate level because during the period the students are subject to physical, psychological, sociological and religious, cultural and gender-based aspects very vigorously.The intensity of the problem may be different from country to country and culture to culture but the attraction to opposite sex is the same all over the world. I teach at secondary level, first I would like to express my opinions. I think there are both advantages and certain disadvantages of co-education. I would like to talk about the topic from my personal point of view. The advantages are:

  • the boys and girls know one another and adjust themselves to the changes that are happening in their bodies and minds because of  the onset of puberty.
  • It is easier  for the teachers to control the class in the co-educational school .The boys in separate schools are much more noisy and some times uncontrollable.
  • we can celebrate the functions and national festivals more naturally and  colourfully .boys and girls mix freely and add charm to the festivities.

The disadvantages are                                                                                                                                       

  • during the pre adolescent and adolescent period the boys and girls are attracted to the opposite sex too much. so there are sexual abuses,  rumours, scandals, illegitimate sexual contacts in certain extreme cases.
  • It is rather difficult to discuss the sex related problems like HIV, AIDS etc freely in the class  now I would like to ask the question; Which is better for the youth.? co-education or separate schools for boys and girls?

I worked both in the co-educational and boys’ schools. Personally I  favour coeducation despite its certain obvious disadvantages. Instead of me talking about the pros and cons myself I would like to know the comments from the teachers, Educational psychologists, sociologists and the feminists etc on this vital educational issue Awaiting your valuable comments on this global issue. Yours sincerely,

jvl narasimha rao's picture
jvl narasimha rao

Dear Mr Heath, Thank you very much for your comments. I do agree that This is a very sensitive issue and should be dealt with carefully.The culture differs  from country to country and religion to religion and Place to place.We can't  blame any particular religion or culture for the discrimination of women in the world. but we have to accept the fact that there is gender bias even in the most liberalised American culture. any how, we can't cross the limits of religion or the culture to which we belong. No one's comment is final on this global issue.Whatever may be the culture or religion, all of us have to protect the rights of women and see that they are not exploited or dominated by men on any ground. as you have rightly pointed out, coeducation will be successful only with the cooperation from the parents and the teachers It is true that the teacher can't discuss freely the sex related problems like Premarital happiness, HIV,AIDS. in coeducational schools.Even the introduction of sex education provoked certain sections of the society like the southern states, Andhra Pradesh in India,inspite of the rampant spread of HIV AND AIDS there. Of course the Govt had to introduce  it despite the protests.from various quarters.I think we have to discuss the issue from the safety point of girls. Yours sincerely, JVL NARASIMHA RAO  

Heath's picture
Heath

Sorry Anita, if it seemed like I was focusing purely on your comments. My comments were meant to be more general.Here are 3 different ideas, all of which I was kind of responding to at once.

  • The suggestion that girls and boys being forced to in separate sections of the classroom and don't talk to each other is unnatural or hinders the learning process. When I was a child, even in 'easy-going' Australia, a lot of boys and girls CHOSE to avoid each other (they even come up with terms like "girl/boy germs", etc). In China, when I have taught classes of 11-14 year olds it's been impossible getting girls and boys to work in pairs because THEY don't want to. As long as teachers acknowledged this and adapted, the Ss learning was still very successful.
  • The idea that it's okay to initiate discussions on sensitive topics like pre-marital sex, sexual discrimination, etc. Shouldn't that be up to the parents to decide? Or at least be a shared decision between parents, teachers and their own society?
  • In the real world men live and work next to women. But, I feel we also need to recognise the differences between children and adults... men and women have life experience, maturity, more developed social skills, and the ability to control and monitor their own actions. Can the same be said for teenage boys and girls?

Written words make it so difficult - can't see the smile and hear the light intonation, hesitation, and doubt behind our own words... makes it easy for us all to misinterpret each other. And I'm not great at wording things either, so that doesn't help.  :p

jvl narasimha rao's picture
jvl narasimha rao

Dear Miss Anita, Thanks a lot for your clarification. In fact I am rather doubtful whether your clarification is to me or Heath because I have talked about the sensitive issues like Sex education, HIV, aids etc. in response to Heath's comments. I think Mr Heath will respond later. Since i raised the topic I have A responsibility to respond.I would like to clarify that you have not mentioned talking about sensitive issues. you have talked about  only in favour of co-education.You are absolutely right regarding your comment that the choice of topic and its sensitiveness depends upon the country you live in and teach. But the culture doesn't remain static in any country whether it is western or eastern.Once women were prohibited from coming out out of their house in India..the situation was similar in Islamic culture too. Our main focus, however, is coeducation, its merits and demerits only You and I favour co=education,some may object to it.It is inevitable to discuss sex related problems in co-educational schools since gov. had to implement it in India because of the rampant spread of HIV and Aids. My point is whether coeducation is good for the youth or Separate schools are good for them.I am talking more about the safety of girls in any society since they are subject to exploitation and they are in disadvantageous position physically , socially and culturally With regards, yours sincerely, JVL NARASIMHARAO                

jvl narasimha rao's picture
jvl narasimha rao

Dear Mr Heath, Thank you very much for your prompt response. The problems of co-education are not so easy as they seem to appear on the surface. I agree with you  that it is inhuman to segregate girls  from boys  simply because  of gender bias which, exists everywhere to a lesser or greater degree. We cannot say that women are absolutely equal to men in all aspects. It is also true that grownups and children are not equal in their worldly wisdom. At this juncture I would like to tell you a real story that happened in our school last year. I am working in a boys' school. The girls' school is opposite to mine. A young girl of 13 years old from the girls' school wrote a love letter to a boy studying tenth class in our school. I am his class teacher. Unfortunately some naughty boy got it. He got it xeroxed and circulated it to his friends. He kept the original letter with him. The H.M got it from him. The staff members read the letter. The letter was not clear but was like this. I love you but you don't talk to me you are very handsome If you love me please meet me at the appointed place. The boy started weeping. In the meantime the girls father came to our school because somebody had written a love letter to his daughter. He realised the truth and became tongue tied. Does the story not tell us the immaturity of the girl? Should we not protect them? This happened in  the so called orthodox society in Andhrapradesh, India. Yours sincerely, JVL NARASIMHARAO

Heath's picture
Heath

Yeah, I'm slowly getting more and more off topic here, aren't I.Really I just wanted to say that I think co-ed is the better way if handled with authority... but my own philosophical view of society in the end lead me to want to put a really strong emphasis on authority.In the end, I don't really have a lot of experience teaching young learners (90% of my teaching experience is with adults), so I'm more making personal comments on society in general.  Sorry :P

major pardeep's picture
major pardeep

I would like to share my views on this  subject.I have been teaching in coeducation school for the past eight years in Punjab and I have seen more advantages than disadvantages. Students in coeduaction feel more confident in interacting with each other than separate school students.It also helps in maintaining discipline and experimenting with newer ideas, as both the boys and the girls do take it as a challenge to give thier best shot.As far as difficulty in starting senstive issues like AIDS AND safe sex in the classroom, I believe it is up to the teacher, how he / she handles it intelligently without making it look cheap. So if we, as a teacher take proper care in planning our subject , I firmly would prefer to go in favour of Co educational school.sincerely yoursMajor Pardeep ShinhMOGA (Punjab) India 

jvl narasimha rao's picture
jvl narasimha rao

Dear mr major Pradeep Shinh
                        Thank your for sharing your thoughts with all of us. it is a fact that the advantages of co-education far outweigh its disadvantages .but the teachers at school  and the parents at home  need to be extra careful about the behaviour of the boys and girls. They will be attracted to the lure of sex at this stage because of their immaturity ,I worked both in the coeducational and separate schools. The advantages of co-coeducation far outweigh its disadvantages and so I I prefer co-education to separate schools
  As you have rightly pointed out ,while dealing with sex related problems the school administration needs to be a bit careful and sensitive. I worked in a coeducational school .The HIV and AIDS are on the increase in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. So the Govt  implemented sex education at the secondary schools.. We used to mix all the girls of different classes in different rooms and the female resource persons used to talk about sex related problems  and diseases with the girls. The male resource persons used to handle boys in different rooms Thus we avoided the embarrassing situations. There are no guidelines to separate boys and girls while dealing with the sex related problems. It is left to the discretion of the resource persons
 Yours sincerely,
 JVL NARASIMHA RAO

jvl narasimha rao's picture
jvl narasimha rao

Dear mr Heath,
                         I have read your comment 'young learners'. It is true that the teacher should be an authority in co-education schools. But the students are attracted to the opposite sex   physically, psychologically, and emotionally at this stage. The boys can exploit the situation very easily I think both the teachers and the parents should be careful at this stage The parents at home and the teachers at school should  monitor  the behaviour of.both the boys and girls very carefully lest they should spoil their careers and lives.
 The situation in a degree college or a professional college is much more different. .By that time the students are more matured and know the difference between love and infatuation .nevertheless I still prefer co-education to separate schools. The boys and girls should get to know one another in an amicable atmosphere.
 Yours sincerely,
JVL NARASIMHARAO

latasuksham's picture
latasuksham

At the outset I would say the topic raised by you is very relevent inthe current times and thanks for raising it.Coeducation is the need of the day and the issue needs to be handled very carefully in our indian context.
Most of the public schools in our country are coeducational and we can see the children in these schools turn out to be more senstive ,well groomed,and matured.
If a child studies in a coeducational school right from the early years of schooling to the senior atages i think they have a better eductional,cultural and intellectual development and  don't have any inhibitions .They can express themselves in a better way and are more confident.
Children tend to long for some thing which they are deprived of during early years of adolesence .So in cases where boys and girls are separated after primary schooling there tends to be greater anxiety about the opposite sex.Children become easily the victim s of infatuation and tend to commit mistakes which could have been avoided.
It is we teachers and parents who make it sound to be the way it is.So i feel it pertinent to allow children to study in coeducational schools.

jvl narasimha rao's picture
jvl narasimha rao

Dear Latasuksham
             Thank you for your compliments .I am happy that the teachers and scholars across the globe are responding to my forum topic ‘does co-education corrupt the youth? I think it is a global issue. As you have rightly pointed out, the more you keep the boys and girls away from the opposite sex, the more they will be attracted to it. It is very difficult to curb the natural instincts .But the teachers and the parents should make the children understand the difference between love and infatuation .then boys and girls learn to adjust themselves to the physical and psychological changes that are taking place in their bodies and minds due to the onset of puberty .I think both sexual education and moral education are necessary at this stage .Like you I prefer co-education to separate schools for boys and girls. Infact ,there are many co-educational schools in the govt, private and corporate sector in India. I am working in a govt secondary school.
 With kind regards,
Yours sincerely,
JVL NARASIMHARAO

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