Coeducation had been pleading to the educators’ not simply to go on educational grounds but on sexual grounds too. They have an opinion that the separation of young men and women led to an excessive concern with sex, while the combined education of the sexes formed a more normal and improved educational atmosphere. Elizabeth Cady Stanton argued, “If the sexes were educated together, we should have the healthy, moral and intellectual stimulus of sex ever quickening and refining all the faculties, without the undue excitement of senses that results from novelty in the present system of isolation.”
Coeducation, in this respect, is an intellectual liberation and sexual well-being (Leach, 1980). This paper highlights the value of coeducation in society and provides hot debate on coeducation in educational institutions. In my opinion, coeducation should be continued to provide ample opportunities for learning and knowing about both girls and boys. Coeducation provides women to be more similar to their brothers. In the view of promoters, this was a praiseworthy aim in a society that had long reserved its richest prizes for males, but opponent said it was a restrictive goal as well; it overlooked the concerns, the insights, and the ambitions born of women’s differing experiences.
Recently it was observed that the education system which offers teaching of boys and girls together have been in trend in the United States and appeared to have found favor with every classes of the community (JAMA, 2007). The main ground which influenced the spread of coeducation is to obtain monetary profit from joint classes and the need to secure equality for women in industrial, professional, and political activities. If we review historically, in the late 17th century, there were number of instances of coeducation found in Scotland and in the American Colonies, but there was no common trend until the vast increase of public education between 1830 and 1845 in the developing W United States (Tyack, 1987). Coeducation in the past has been brought about by the useful beliefs of feminism which simply rejects the important differences between men and women.
In the past there were strong supporter of coeducation. Since 1960 almost every formerly single-sex college has become coeducational. Regardless of the conflict of Harvard and Yale, coeducation had become the major form of higher education in this country by the end of the nineteenth century and at present more than 95 percent of all college women are joined in coeducational institutions (Newcomer, 1959). These statistics highlighted that coeducation left a great impact on society and by educating male and female jointly, better social structure can be developed. The rapid development of higher education in the 1960s and the defeat of such remaining stronghold of male individuality as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale to the increasing popularity of coeducation provided women with unparalleled opportunities (Andrew 1980).
Many educators and officials at the University also began to believe that admissions unfairness based on sexual category could not stand up in the court of law. Many professors thought that the forces of illumination required educating men and women at their best, and the best education could be found in a coeducation environment. They were also interested to get opinions from various groups on the issue of coeducation. They polled graduates, students and professors. None of their polling techniques showed convincing, and the response rates weakened any generalizations. Out of 40,000 surveys sent to graduates, less than 100 were returned; only two-thirds of those were opposite to coeducation. The coeducational movement came across stronger opposition outside the United States. In Europe, the Scandinavian countries were the earliest supporters, but many other nations restricted coeducation to institutions of higher learning. Although coeducation has extended since World War II but in many nations, people were still opposing combined education of male and female on religious and cultural grounds (Tyack, 1987).
Since many years, general public demonstrated a change of outlook on the topic of coeducation and they questioned its benefits. Dr. G. Stanley Hall raised these protests and said that when girls were educated with boys, they will lose some of their womanly attraction, while the boys will inherit some feminine personality. America is tending to doubt the merits of coeducation; Great Britain is accepting coeducation system with some degree of eagerness (JAMA. 2007). There are conflicting viewpoint of coeducation in members of society but a number of theoretical advantages to coeducational schools have been developed by their supporters. The explanation of results of earlier studies on coeducation in the private sector or the public sectors of other countries has been passionately argued, resulting in varying strategy recommendations based on the same facts.
Many professors assert that women raised the academic standards at the University. Coeducation system provide competitive platform where male students feel the pressure to show better performance when they judge against themselves to hard-working, talented and brilliant female collage mates. One convincing reason for implementing coeducation was the growing need for women teachers. Many communities found it difficult to recruit teachers due to labor scarcity and indebtedness. When these communities search for labor, they hired women and insist on legislatures to provide them with sufficient education. Another hopeful aspect was the 1862 passage of the Morrill Land Grant Act, by which Congress promoted the growth of the state universities. As these institutions developed, taxpayers insisted that their daughters, as well as their sons, should be admitted (Olin, 1909). The Spanish professor Victor Garcia Hoz gave argument in favor of coeducation and stated that the first factor is economic. Coeducation is less expensive, requiring fewer classes, buildings, teachers and coeducation provides a more pleasant-sounding association between the sexes similar to family life. It encourages understanding, knowledge, and mutual exchange between the sexes. It reproduces the independent reality of the liberation of women and their equal right of entry and potential for the workplace in better way. It suggests some emotional advantages, in that it represses unhealthful curiosity and favors emotional maturity. Moreover, it is indicated that coeducation promotes Christian ethical behavior by avoiding sexual deviancy that can happen in single sex settings (Garcia Hoz, 1984).
President James B. Angell observed female students in Michigan and affirmed that they have a consciousness that their education is the same in extent and thoroughness with that of their brothers. Coeducation provides better opportunity to enhance their confidence, self-reliance and strength. Promoters take a stand that coeducation provides women to the pleasure of discovering that they could exceed the achievements of male students. Along with their intelligence of intellectual achievement, the initiater of coeducation takes pleasure in an extraordinary degree of personal liberty. In present scenario, many universities allowed women to come and go freely, just as men did, and regardless of the policy which is against coeducation, often accepted by student organizations, friendships between men and women are difficult to avoid.
It does not matter what is the ratio of the boy and girl in the co-educational institution, it has always several benefits over the non co-educational system. When they attend classes together they can clear many doubts and this is flourishing in most schools. Boys become aware of girl’s attitude and girls may get an opportunity to understand boys better. A spirit of assistance and contest increases in the co-educational system. Girls and boys at a self conscious age take additional care of themselves. Supporter of coeducation notes an important point that when they brought up together and share activities such as dramatics, art and other things, it broadens the student’s ability and a healthy feeling which pass through in all co-educational schools. The sense of teamwork that develops between boys and girls prepare them to later on to adjust in a diverse society.
Generally in coeducation, living hostels, dining rooms and sports are separate for the boys and the girls but other activities are common, the Societies are common; the stage and theatre are common, the teachers are the same; the examinations are common to both. They can choose and watch films together and enjoy many activities together. The morning assemblies in all the residential co-educational schools have boys and girls singing and praying together. It is a known fact that often school friendships become long lasting and good co-educational schools have their old Boys and Girls Society. This society organizes annual get together in a selected city and old school mates get a chance to gather and meet with each other. These are the major advantages of coeducation which the non coeducation system do not have and students of same sex education systems are deprived of all above opportunities.
Opponents do not agree with coeducation. An important question they raised is whether there should be a co-ed system even at the university level. They provide many reasons to support their argument, there will be lack of religious formation, lack of strong family structures, a high level of physical comfort and financial security which often produces softness and laziness. Today’s youth have not had to live through severe economic crisis. Research signifies that girls are generally at a dissimilar difficulty in a co-ed environment. Single-sex education provides considerable advantages for girls on every front (Robertson). One of the prime troubles experienced by coeducational institutions, convinced of the need to implement sexual separation in student life, was that they did not have sufficient dormitory space to house all their students. Suddenly women whose housing and athletic needs had been unobserved for decades found themselves the beneficiaries of new dormitories and gymnasiums. There is a conviction that if the children are sent to same sex school, they can get away from the gender stereotypes that are normally seen in a co-educational learning atmosphere. Some of these pigeonholes are placed on the students by society, others by facility, classmates, and themselves. By eradicating these gender based stereotypes, the students are open to learn without upsetting about the labels being placed on them.
In designing the implementation plan for education, Frank Hereford looked closely to institutions that already co-educated or those are making plans to do so. Even, well-known universities accepted women in the late 1960s. The speedy increase in female enrollment, together with the more varied character of the female student body, influenced many university officials that they could no longer dismiss women students as exceptions or rely on common hostility between the sexes to protect Victorian principles. Many women delighted at finally being able to enjoy the kind of companionship and physical activity that the men had enjoyed all along. But challengers regretted the loss of freedom, the humiliation of submitting to rules fashioned only for women, and the new distance established between the sexes. “The natural social relations between men and women, always somewhat warped in the college atmosphere, have been almost completely thwarted by artificial barriers,” complained one man. No longer able to eat together, men and women found it difficult, under the new system of segregated housing, to form a wide circle of friendships (Zimmerman, 1917, pg: 174-75). Considerate scholars viewing the study of women, irrespective of their gender class, not only enhance their knowledge but also transform how people think about knowledge itself and the society that looks after it. The capability of coeducation to live up to the prospects of its early advocates twists not on women’s reaching statistical parity within academe but on the enthusiasm of the academy to advance this rethinking and to meet its challenge to transform open-minded learning (Florence, 1983 )
From above, it is concluded that coeducation is the incorporated learning of girls and boys with same facilities. Coeducational schools are more successful in terms of perceptual measures of the school climate or culture that may have an impact on performance. It is an old age practice to educate students of same sexes. Coeducational schools are also effective in long-term, quantifiable indicators of individual student adaptation and socio emotional development. More recent evaluation of single sex and coeducational institutions advocates that women at coeducational institutions are somewhat more likely to take courses in conventionally masculine fields than their sisters at women’s colleges. Studies that have taken to the social and economic background of students into account put forward that graduates of women’s colleges have not been any more likely to chase careers after college than graduates of coeducational institutions.
1) Robertson, Robin A., “New Research supports Single-Sex Classrooms.” Emma Willard Bulletin, Troy, New York.
3) Garcia Hoz, Victor. , l984. “La coeducacion,” SIDEC. Rome, p. 5
4) C. Lasser, ed., 1987. Educating Men and Women Together.
5) Leach William.1980. True Love and Perfect Union: The Feminist Reform of Sex and Society (New York: Basic Books, pg:80.
6) Newcomer Mabel. 1959. A Century of Higher Education for Women.New York: Harper and Bros.,pg: 49.
7) Olin Helen M..1909. Women of a State University (New York Putnam. Pg; 22-47.
8) Zimmerman Joan C.1917. “Daughters of Main Shed. Culture and the Female Community at Grinnell 1884-1917,” in Women’s Being, Women’s Place: 167;
9) Florence Howe. 1964-1983. Myths of Coeducation: Selected Essays.