Co-education in India
Co- is a prefix that means together. Educate is a word that comes from educare. Educare means literally to draw out, but it tends to be used in the sense of to teach. Hence, co-education means teaching together.
Co-education (also mixed gender education, mixed-sex education, co-ed) refers to the integrated education system, where the education of both boys and girls are arranged in the same environment, mainly at schools, colleges and universities.
Co–education is one of the most common spectacles in the educational system of West. It is now been widely seen in India as well.
As a matter of historical fact, there was co-education in ancient India particularly in the Vedic Age, when woman had a very high status in the society.
In modern times, it means teaching students of all genders together, at various levels, such as:
- At nursery school.
- At school.
- At university.
However, with the passage of time, the system of co- education began to be discouraged in India. During the British rule, however, co-education once again cropped up, but only one out of one thousand Indian girls could get the privilege of studying with boys. Today, of course, co-education is encouraged in our country and number of co-educational institutions is increasing.
Critics: There are certain critics who are still holding the conservative view that by studying in co-educational institutions our girls become immodest and graceless and that their moral character also gets blotted. These critics are think that the decline of morality in the present age is the direct outcome of co-educational system. There is absolutely no truth in these false and baseless charges against co-education. Co-education neither corrupts a girl nor a boy. Educational institutions are the places of learning. Co-education doesn’t make students impure, unholy or immoral. When boys and girls can enjoy mixed social gatherings and parties, then where lies the harm if they study together?
Types of co-education.
- In the home: boys and girls can be taught to read and write together by their parents.
- At nursery school: all students play and learn together.
- At primary school: boys and girls take the same classes.
- At university: university students of all genders learn together.
- On training courses or practical courses: no preference is given to one gender over another.
Advantages of Co-education
1. Broadens Outlook and Personality: Co-education, apart from providing a better and higher standard of education, also serves as vital force in the development of a girl’s personality. It widens her narrow out-look and broadness her horizon. Modesty and grace are, indeed, two most important qualities in an ideal Indian girl.
2. Bold and smart: Co-education removes shyness from a girl and makes her bold and smart. It creates in the hearts of both the boys as well as girls, an inspiring urge to work together for the advancement and enrichment of the nation and the country. Boys and girls are the two ‘wheels’ of the Chariot of a nation. Both must play their parts equally and ideally to make the ‘Chariot’ run faster and still faster.
3. Respect: when educated together, all students learn respect for each other from an early age.
4. Best learning experience: co-education provides a great learning experience.
5. Psychological benefits: From the psychological point of view, co-education is a blessing for girls, especially of a less developed and growing country, like India, which is on her path of progress. When girls study with boys and take part in every activity side by side, they are psychologically cured of this disease of self-defeatism and self-created pessimism.
6. Lowers cost of education: When both girls and boys get education in a safe environment, the need for separate education institutions for girls would get minimized. Co-education is the proper solution to cut the high cost of maintaining separate staff and educational infrastructure for girls.
7. Gender Equality: Education should never be discriminated based on gender. Co-education enables the boys and girls to come in contact with each other. During this course, they are able to understand and develop respect for each other. This mutual understanding results in development of a social environment where both men and women are treated equally. Men will no longer oppose the equal status of women, once they are truly aware of the infinite potential of women.
8. Uniformity: Everyone gets to experience the same curriculum if they are all educated together. Every child gets the knowledge and wisdom to gain the best knowledge.
9. Social groups: Students’ social groups expand in co-educational environments. Co-education provides opportunity for co-operation (working together) and co-existence (existing together).
Conclusion: Boys and girls, both, will have to put effort and energy, toil and knowledge to re-build the shattered social and economic order of our country and the nation. Co-education is immensely beneficial to the girls of India, rather it is blessing to them. We should not discriminate against any student on any basis.