Co-education in Pakistan

What is Coeducation?
Mixes-sex education, also known as coeducation or mixes-sex education is the integrated education of male and female students in the same environment. Thus and single-sex education are alternatives, and both are employed around the world. Many older institutions of higher education were previously reserved for one gender but have now changed to become coeducational.

Coeducation finds its origin in Sparta, Greece. At that time, there was no distinction between boys and girls. They studied and played together. They were given academic education along with physical training. Plato, the great philosopher theorized that coeducation was vital for the development of personality. He conceived that coeducation was the only way to make boys and girls valuable to the society. That’s why West acknowledged and adopted the system of co-education.

The debate about the relative advantages and disadvantages of single-sex and co-educational schooling is long running and shows no sign of abating. Although research on, and reviews of, the benefits of single-sex versus co-educational schooling have been undertaken around the world and the results are equivocal. In other words, we lack consistent, robust evidence about the advantages of one school type over the other.

Co-education in Pakistan
Pakistan is one of the Muslim countries where many schools, colleges and universities are single gender. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, most universities were coeducational by name but ratio of women enrollment was not more than 5%. During the Zia regime, the government established women colleges and universities to endorse the education among women who were hesitant of studying in mixed-sex settings. And now there is significant number of educational institutions where co-education is deployed while in many other institutions, there is sex-segregation.

For years, a question many educators, parents, and researchers have been asking is whether or not it is academically beneficial to teach to boys and girls together or separately at school. Some argue that coeducation permits males and females of all ages to become more prepared for real-world situations, whereas a student that is only familiar with a single-sex setting could be less prepared, nervous, or uneasy. However, at certain ages, students may be more distracted by the opposite gender in a coeducational setting. This distraction may affect how often a student is willing to raise his or her hand in class and to focus on the lesson. The absence of the opposite sex creates a non-realistic environment not duplicated in the real world.

Much has been written both in favor of, and against co-educational institutes in Pakistan. Both the proponents and opponents cite apparently valid arguments to support their view. Proponents of coeducation argue that it is the need of hour and that it has the ability to eliminate the problems of the developing country. Nonetheless, the opponents dare to disagree. To them, the system does not confirm to the religious, social and cultural values of the society.

Merits of co-education
A co-ed school is a place to encounter, understand, and work with the other gender; that the genders are, fundamentally compatible; that girls and boys can and should learn from each other; that differences, when they do exist, can be understood.  These are powerful assumptions and can have a significant impact on student learning.

The positivity of coeducation is that a person learns how to interact and deal with other people and he/she develops her interpersonal skills which becomes a strong stick to an old man when he/she enters the professional life because in that period of your life it is not necessary that you are only going to deal with girls if you are a girl or boys if you are a boy. Co-ed provides an opportunity to be better trained from earlier stages.

The world is comprised of men and women, boys and girls, and if a school’s mission is to prepare students for life in the world, then co-educational schools have an advantage and teach important skills that will be called on for success in later schooling and life.

Co-educational schools teach important skills that will be called on for success in later schooling and life. In a co-ed school, girls and boys can also know that when they succeed with the other gender present, this can only have a positive impact on future achievement and self-esteem. And this issue of the world remains an important reason to support co-education.

There is also the issue of diversity. A diverse school experience featuring contact with people from different backgrounds, cultures, belief systems, and genders which is a positive phenomenon. A co-educational school does, then, offer an experience that is more real and powerful. Girls and boys can and should learn from each other.

The interaction between boys and girls at this age helps in their practical life later on. Co-education also produces a healthy competition. The boys become more civilized and polished in the presence of girls. The girls also stand to gain something in the presence of boys.

Some argue that we should adopt co-education in our schools and colleges because our country is poor and under-developed. We cannot open separate schools and colleges both for the boys and girls. This becomes obvious in the case of vocational and technical institutions. It is very difficult for the government to open separate vocational colleges and equip them with necessary scientific apparatus and library. There is a great dearth of skilled teachers on technical subjects in our country. That is why it is desirable to educate the boys and girls in the same institution.

Demerits of co-education
Much has been written both in favor of, and against co-educational institutes in Pakistan. Both the proponents and opponents cite apparently valid arguments to support their view.

The negative aspect is engaging in some non required activities like mostly in coeducation girls and boys are found hanging around cafes and pubs, bunking the classes and this all stinks.

The boys and girls might waste their time in activities unrelated to their studies. The youth is characterized by irresponsibility and immaturity. This free contact can result in laxity of morals. Therefore, it is false economy to teach them in the same institution.

Coeducation, in Pakistan has always remained a controversial issue. Some people want this system to be adopted in all the institutions on the other hand; there is a sizeable portion of population that is opposed to it. Both the schools of thought present argument supporting their stance. Decision should not be based on whether to minimize or increase a child's exposure to the opposite sex. We must consider the reputation of the school, the activities it offers and the quality of education and educators.