What are the advantages and disadvantages of co-education ?
The main argument in favor of co-education is that it provides a powerful incentive to both sexes to work in competition with the other. Hence, a higher standard of work results because both boy and girl are “on their mettle.” But the competition may not be confined to work only ! It may be channeled to boys competing to capture the attention of girls and preoccupation of a sexual nature are, of course, detrimental to work.
The mixing of the sexes through “difficult” ages and stages in co-educational schools eradicates shyness and gaucheness in the boy/girl relationship. This is true and they do benefit by living, working and playing together. On the other hand, boys and girls in separate schools do not experience shyness and gaucheness in the boy-girl relationship. Sexes are part of the curricula of most schools nowadays, and it is always possible to get to know the opposite sex through the contacts of family life.
Good manners are said also to be inculcated through co-education. This is to some extent true, as the “courtesies” and “social niceties” are in fact imbibed in the school room. Social good manners can of course, and usually are instilled in the home and are also quickly “gleaned” in out of school activities. Schools of separate sexes also train pupils in good manners.
Finally, co-education leads to a more balanced school life because of the mutual interest between the sexes. Plays, concerts and so on, are very much easier to produce when girls and boys can both take part, and the final results are often better. But this difficulty has been overcome in the past and will of course be overcome in the future. The school, in any case, exists in the main for education.
The biggest danger is that adolescents will become too preoccupied with sex and that they may become involved in difficulties of a serious social nature. This, with proper supervision is not of course insurmountable. In any event, co-education has come to stay and while clearly it cannot have very much effect on the side of work, it may bring advantages on the social side.