Maa, Should I go to a Co-Ed or All Girls School ?
Most parents face this question, when their daughters reach the schooling age: which one is better - co-educational school or all-girls’ school for their daughter??
If we delve deeper into this dilemma of many parents, we observe that there are pros and cons of both. Apparently, Co-ed schools provide girls with an opportunity of having an equal standing with boys, wherein they can undergo the assessments and evaluations on a uniform basis. There develops a healthy sense of competition between boys and girls and the latter are more motivated to deliver their best, not only in academics but in extra-curricular activities as well. Co-ed schools also ensure a broader curriculum in most cases, which allow for the all-round flourishing of a girl’s personality. Besides, the mutual interaction helps them develop a better understanding of the opposite gender, which in turn lays the stepping stone to their lasting relationships in the future. The misconceptions, gender bias and prejudices are done away with, and girls grow up to be more confident individuals in such a set-up, accepting the challenges readily. They are better prepared to face such a situation later on, when they enter their professional lives, and this early exposure widens their approach.
However, a recent research has quite a different story to tell. According to findings and analysis of GCSE scores of more than 700,000 girls taught in UK, those in girls’ schools consistently made more progress than those in co-ed secondaries. There can be quite a few reasons attributed to this. Girls’ brains work differently from boys and respond better to a different style of teaching. Also, in a single-sex environment, girls are more likely to take up subjects normally dominated by boys, such as mathematics and the sciences, without feeling intimidated. Only girls’ schools also minimize the scope of distraction in the form of romantic involvement with boys. It sets up girls for more promising careers, often in male-dominated jobs. Research from London’s Institute of Education in 2007 found that girls who go to girls’ schools earn more than those who go to co-ed schools. Perhaps the reason being that the sense of being pitted against boys in a co-ed school might dampen her potential and cause her to under-perform. Also, certain sexist teachers in co-ed institutions have been shown to display partiality towards their own gender, thus depriving the other counterpart to optimize their classroom participation or examination scores.
Some conservative parents may choose to withdraw their daughters from co-ed schools, at the age of onset of puberty, for fear of distraction. Studies conducted in India also argue that free interaction with their peers in co-ed situations de-stresses the students, creating a friendlier, more relaxed environment. A DCSF study concluded that there was little evidence to support the notion that the dominant learning style of boys differs from those of girls. The study also concluded that ways of teaching that appeal to boys are equally girl-friendly.
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Thus, both co-ed and only girls’ institutions have their own merits and demerits. The choice is to be made by the parent, and probably at a later stage, by the girl herself, as she is to hold the reins of her life for the days to come.