By Hamida Bano
The term co-education has been defined as the education of both boys and girls together in the same institution. This system was primarily introduced and applied in Switzerland. Later on, it was adopted in America, France, Britain and many other European countries. It firmed its roots in our Third World countries with the growth of private education educational institutions quite recently. According to the supporters of Co-education it has become an urgent need of the day because of its economical and sociological advantages.
They believe that in a poor country like Pakistan the application of this educational system gives fruitful results from economical point of view. Same libraries and laboratories are used by both girls and boys. It saves money on the establishment of separate educational institutions with all sorts of facilities. Similarly this system greatly helps in the mutual understanding of both boys and girls and brings them socially together. It demolishes the female students’ shyness and enables them to face the outer world with boldness and courage.
The result is a healthy society, having independent individuals. The ideas’ of 21st century’s woman are totally different from that of 14th century’s. Now she is aware enough to demand for equal rights in every filed of life. She could be no more kept confined under the four walls of her house, reaching her children only. In our male chauvinistic society today’s woman wants to do every thing together with her male partner to produce a conducive society which has equal opportunities for both men and women on same line. To confine women in a separate educational institution is to cut her off from a normal set of the society. Therefore it is in urgent need to bring her side by side with man during her very academic years.
But the question is that at which level co-education could be more fruitful and less harmful. Here difference of opinion is possible. Generally speaking it is believed that co-education is essential at the elementary and then at the post-graduate level. The level between the above two is that of college. In our zone boys and girls become young at an early age. They become sex conscious at this level and are emotionally attracted towards each other. It becomes more than difficult for the administrators to keep a proper check on them for their reformation. As a result, lots of troubles arise. The studies of the students are badly suffered. The harmony of the institution turns into chaos and disruptions. Instead of doing good as an educational institution is poisons the whole society. If in such a situation students are forced and emotionally suppressed, another serious psychological problem is created.
It has also been observed that in some cases co-education causes injury to the very personality of the male students. The main purpose of education is personality and character development but studying together with girls, some time boys develop girlish habits i.e. they start giving facial expressions and gestures with hands just like girls. It badly damages their personality.
In fact co-education needs to be encouraged at primary level because the psychology of both girls and boys is alike at that age level. They share same likes and dislikes. Their interests are of similar nature. Co-education at this level helps in developing a sense of completion among male and female children and has no side effects.
If co-education is supported at the post-graduate level it is only on the ground that at this level students are mature enough to understand the ups and downs of their society. They have better understanding of their surroundings.
To sum up, keeping in view the problems of over population in our country Pakistan, it is wise enough to build separate educational institutions for girls and boys if we wish to have a stable Islamic society.
The writer is an Assistant Professor of English at government girls degree college.