Single-gender schools and mixed schools have been with us for centuries. While some parents prefer the former, others prefer the latter. In either case, every parent or guardian is interested in the advantages and disadvantages of the two alternatives. This article outlines the probable pros and cons of choosing a single-gender school for your child or ward.
The Pros of Single-Gender Schools
1. No distraction
One of the reasons parents choose single-gender schools is the fact that students can focus on their studies without distractions from the opposite sex. In other words, students who attend single-gender schools concentrate on their studies as the environment does not give room for romantic relationships with the opposite sex which can have a negative impact on academic performance.
2. A level-playing field for each gender
According to research, gender can influence students’ interests and performance. Females and males have different orientations regarding their subjects of interest and that plays an important role in academic performance. Therefore, making students compete with students of the same sex gives them a level-playing field. It equally helps to remove the stereotypical male-female performance comparison and the chance of gender domination.
3. Less bullying
The tendency for bullying is slim in an all-boys or all-girls school. This is because the absence of the opposite sex means the elimination of one of the possible causes of competition. It removes the pressure to impress the opposite sex.
4. Boosts confidence
For both genders, especially for boys, the absence of the opposite sex can bolster confidence. Boys will be more confident to ask and attempt questions without the fear of failing and getting embarrassed in the presence of girls. In the same vein, they are more likely to participate in other activities without the fear of failure.
5. Reduced sexual and reproductive health issues
About 73 million abortions take place yearly, leading to the death of more than 90,000 'women', with developing countries contributing 73% to all cases of unsafe abortions.
Since a single-gender school does not encourage romantic relationships, it eventually helps to minimize the occurrence of sexual and reproductive health issues, including adolescent pregnancies, abortions and abortion-related complications and deaths.
6. No stereotypes
When students attend single-gender schools they can confidently pursue their interests, particularly those that are assumed to be gender-based such as engineering and catering. Getting accustomed to them early may help them become passionate enough to be able to handle gender stereotypes when they are exposed to the larger society later in life.
7. Builds confidence and leadership skills
Actual or perceived domination of one gender over another is a pervasive issue in many aspects of society. From the family to education, leadership and career, women are often underrepresented and dominated. Single-gender schools help to address this gender injustice somewhat because there is only one gender for all leadership positions in all-girls schools.
Cons of Single-Gender Schools
1. No evidence that it improves results
Some researchers maintain that improved performance may not necessarily arise from attending a single-gender school. Parents and guardians who send their children and wards respectively to these schools are usually rich and educated. These are some of the factors that may contribute to their performances.
2. Poor social skills development
We live in a society that is made up of both sexes. It is feared that when girls are denied the opportunity to grow amidst boys and interact with them they may struggle to adapt eventually.
3. Does not promote diversity
Diversity is an undeniable fact about the human race. And it is near impossible to tailor all institutions, services and products in line with all that differentiate us, which include language, sex, religion, ethnicity and culture.
Gender-based institutions negatively contribute to gender discrimination. They also deny children and teenagers the benefits of a diverse group. For example, research indicates that girls mature way faster than boys and that the former contribute positively to the maturity of the latter.
The larger society is made up of men and women. Children are expected to interact with both groups in the future. Unfortunately, single-gender schools are not preparing them for this inescapable social reality. Besides, most of the advantages of sex-based schools can still be achieved in co-educational institutions.
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