Coeducation is that education in which boys and girls read under the same roof, sit together in the same classes and study the same subjects. It was not prevalent in ancient India. It is of recent origin. Women in the past were not ‘touch me not’ types, but ‘see me not’. So woman’s education in the same institution in which boys studied was taboo. Orthodoxy violently frowned on it. Boys and girls of young age were kept separate from each other. This was thought essential to keep purity their character intact. Those who are against coeducation point out many defects of this system of education.
The greatest objection is that the free mixing of boys and girls would lead to romance and sentimentalism. This will turn schools into lovers’ meeting places. Under one or the other pretext boys try to enjoy the company of girls. This results into wastage of precious time of study. Sex attraction rules.
Boys become fashionable to attract the attention of the girls. All sorts of motions, gestures and signs are made in the class. This creates indiscipline. Purity of character is impossible. Undesirable habits grip boys and good qualities of character are sacrificed. Coeducation is incompatible with serious study.
Sometimes teachers face peculiar problems. They have to skip some points which they cannot discuss in the presence of the girl students. Many people object that study of the same subjects is not beneficial to girls because their future life is different from boys’ future life. Some argue that in coeducation boys become girlish and girls become boyish.
But all is not bad with coeducation. Ours is an age of progressive ideas. Men and women mingle everywhere. The heavens will not fall if they mix in schools or colleges. When girls are in large number, their presence is taken for granted. They cease to attract attention. Daily meeting blunts the edge of curiosity. So coeducation improves the moral tone of the students. Sex consciousness is removed.
The objection that character suffers in coeducation is unfounded. Rather boys and girls emulate each other and try to be on their best behaviour. School or college life looks sweet and absenteeism decreases.
Coeducational system is economical. To run separate institutions for a small number of girls is always uneconomical. So much wastage is avoided.
Boys and girls understand each other well. Later on they have to work together at one or the other stage. Coeducation creates a healthy spirit of working together. Understanding each other’s psychology is good for family and social life.
Some people argue that coeducation may harm boys and girls when they experience many physical and mental changes. This fear can be removed through intelligent counseling.
We can’t travel I n the bullock cart in the age of the aeroplane. The wheels of progress are moving forward. Those who move out with tie will be mowed down. Everywhere eve is gaining equality with men. So, coeducation is going to stay forever.