Today, most of the single sex educational institutions in various countries have been converted into coeducation schools or colleges. However, the effectiveness of coeducation is still doubtful as many researches have pointed out the benefits of single sex education as well. It has been identified that single-sex education caters best to the academic achievement of girls. The present study, therefore, seeks to explore the various advantages and disadvantages of both single sex and coeducation systems of education and in doing so the paper deals with the history and growth of both the educational systems as well.
It is worthwhile to understand the scope and significance of both single-sex and coeducation systems. Single-sex education is so designed to meet the educational needs of a particular sex only. As pointed out by Mael et al, “single-sex education refers most generally to education at the elementary, secondary, or postsecondary level in which males or females attend school exclusively with members of their own sex” (Mael et al ix). On the other hand, coeducation can be defined as an integrated system of education for both the sexes and as such the educational system is also known as mixed schooling. Coeducational system seeks to put an end to the educational disparities that prevail in communities and the ultimate aim of coeducation is to offer equal educational opportunities to everyone irrespective of one’s gender or sex.
In this respect, Radford observes that it is the “social pressures to encourage cross-sex contact and socialization in a more ‘natural’ environment” that have promoted the growing number of co-education system since the 1960s (Radford 27). Early researches on co-education and single-sex education identified that co-education is highly beneficial for boys whereas there was no noticeable positive impacts on the academic achievement of girls. Studies have also shown that in terms of academic achievement single-sex education best suits for girls. Marsh et al merged one girls’ and one boys’ school into two co-educational schools and the results of the five-year longitudinal study revealed that the merger increased the self-concept of both sexes even though there was no considerable evidence in terms of better academic achievement (Radford 28). Another remarkable study conducted by Lee and Bryk in 1986 revealed that “girls in single-sex schools were more likely to associate with academically oriented peers, and have an interest in both mathematics and English” (Radford 29). On the other hand, there are many others who hold that coeducation facilitates socialization and that the system prepares girls towards social and democratic life. Therefore, it is imperative to identify which of the two systems best cater to the modern society and for this it is essential to make a probe into the pros and cons of both coeducation and single-sex education. Literature Review The literature review of the paper focuses on the history and growth of both coeducation and single sex education, evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of both the system, reviews the previous researches and studies on their pros and cons, evaluates the present day status of both