By Zeeshan Rasool Khan
No one can imagine depriving a girl from getting an education .Acquiring education is basic right of every girl and its impact on society is indisputably prominent. Efforts are being made to achieve gender equality in education all around the globe. With the gradual increase in girl schooling, a concept – Co-education or Co-ed emerged which means, the integrated education of males and females at the same school facilities. It is, in fact , a modern concept that was first introduced in Switzerland but later on it spread to other countries as well and gained popularity, globally. Co-education is much preferred over single gender education and is promoted and intended to develop mutual respect between genders, help them to overcome fear of opposite gender, to encourage healthy competition, to subject them to co-exist which enable the genders to work together and blend with each other to survive in this world.
Everything has its pros and cons and hence we need to look at every angle before we decide in which direction we have to go. Even though there are many advantages of having a co-education system but co-ed poses challenge to society in different ways .In other words, co-ed carries some demerits which demands attention. I got an opportunity to analyze this system of education closely which made me to mention some points about it. Though in college , we have mature minded students who are not liable to divergence, having fewer chances that co-education will interfere in their learning efforts. However, in schools where mostly teenagers are enrolled, students are non-immune to digression and get entangled into various academic and social complications.
In co-ed classrooms female students are often at disadvantage, specifically, when it comes to exchanging of views in the classroom. Unavailability of female teachers adds a layer to this problem. Though our schools have almost equal proportion of male and female teachers but several institutes are still deprived of women teachers thus girl in such schools, feel absence of women with whom they could discuss their problems. According to an assessment carried out by National Educational Academy, it has been found that teachers tend to interact with boys more, give lengthy verbal responses to questions and comments of boys than girls. In Co-ed classroom, some girls may not be able to get a word in edgewise. It has also been found that Teachers couldn’t focus on sex-education that has been included in curriculum and is need of hour, in mixed education system depriving students from required education.
I may be criticized, labeled as myopic and stereotypes after pointing out second negativity of co-ed but I believe it is at the root of evil. Teenage is a very dangerous phase in anybody’s life .During this age chances of distractions are more. It has been found that the teens undergo psychological changes when they are in company with opposite gender and feel attracted towards them leading to unpleasant, unethical and immoral relationships .Such relations often culminate at sexual connections which not only impacts their academic career but also drags the future of society towards iniquity.
School life constitutes a crucial stage for youth where they are in process of defining their career path; but indulgence into wrongful acts could cause lot of perturbations and might disturb their period of gaining knowledge. There have been cases where hardworking guys having outstanding track record were found to have lost the track in this atmosphere .However, having such affairs between males and females may be normal in many countries, societies and communities but it is unacceptable and questionable in Muslim countries and states with Muslim majority as downfall of societies and family standards is neither encouraged by any religion especially Islam nor a civilized society would favor it.
Consequently, it becomes challenging both for parents and school administrations to handle boys and girls coexisting in a common atmosphere .Most parents often wonder if co- education institutions would be right choice for their children to learn plus, it becomes source of vexation for entire institution and teachers who are considered guiding light and are often censured for student’s behavior.
The question arises how this challenge can be confronted? Is banning co-ed only the option left? I believe ‘No’.
No problem is without solution and same is the case with problems associated with mixed education .Only, what we have to do is to consider our respective responsibilities. Parents and teachers specifically have crucial role to play. Being first teacher, inculcation of morals and values in children is obligation of every parent, they have to develop in them sense of duty involving honesty, compassion, respect, self-respect generation of decision making capacity, and sense of distinguishing between right and wrong . During the adolescent period, children are having increased sexual urges which is natural phenomenon. Parents however, have a responsibility to gently control them, direct them so that their curiosity doesn’t result in harmful pursuits. Acquainting them with religious knowledge can also be impactful; this could help to transform their psyche positively and can impress their personality. Next are the school teachers. Teachers should treat pupils as their own children and should be frank and friendly with them irrespective of gender. They must treat both gender groups equally, listen to their problems and apart from teaching syllabus books; teacher should focus on student’s character building. Teachers have been divinely bestowed with the ability to change lives of student. A teacher can unfold enfolded attributes of student and can change them into best. Lectures on morality and ethics must be part of class work that has been found to have peachy results. Besides, that it is very necessary to create awareness among students about complications related to adolescence, its consequences and ways to pass this period immaculately. And last, students also cannot escape from their responsibilities. They must realize the purpose of being in school. And , above all, they must bear in mind the importance of education in their lives..
—The author can be reached at: [email protected]