Co-education stands for the system in which boys and girls receive education jointly. The basic premise behind this system is that men and women have to spend their lives in each other’s company. So, it is better to give the training from the beginning of life. By spending their time together since childhood, they will understand each other better.
We come to know through our religious texts that in ancient times education was given in Gurukulas where the pupil lived with his teacher. The pupil received education for the service he did to his teacher. Many references come of highly learned women in those ages such as Gargi, Priyamvada and Lopamudra. Their high learning points to that they must have received education in the same way as prevalent in those ages. However in medieval ages, evidence has been found that women’s education was restricted. But even then it was a result of political conditions and not opted out of choice.
The system of co-education has been started by western nations. But it will serve well if we took a deep look at this system before giving it our final judgement. The sexually open society of west does not consider it a big issue to put young boys and girls together in course of their growing up but our culture places great emphasis on inculcating moral purity and strength. And so it seeks to foster it through appropriate training. Western society many be justified in its approach according to its reality but we will have to see this issue in the set up of the culture.
A lot of good point issue from co-ed system of education. It is found to facilitate the feeling of equality between the boy and the girl – a healthy trait. For ages women had been kept behind the curtains in India. They have been denied education also. It has naturally produced in them inferiority complex. But receiving education together and engaging in all extra circular activities together will remove it from them. It is also said that the distance between sexes creates fantasy and unnecessary imagination between them. But when both the sexes are made to live together right from the childhood it automatically dies also the feelings of fellowship and equality develops between them which are good for future healthy relationships. It may lead to long relations of marriages and in the modern society where both the sexes work shoulder to shoulder.
But this system has its own demerits too. The loss of values, morals and cultures is now pointed to mental state. The offending boldness has taken over the earlier grace of females. In the name of openness dirty fashion is displaced and the mistake confidence of a girl tries to grab it. Corruption, glamour, sexuality and violence all are displayed in modern times with brazenness like never before.
Both the points dealt above are true and have some merits. It then becomes joint responsibility of our educationalists, leaders and sociologists to make a comparative study and apply both in appropriate settings.