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Single-sex schools: are they better?

By , Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

Unfortunately, schools are not all the same just because they are all called school; there are different types of schools like single-sex schools and co-educational schools. For example, most of international schools in Vietnam are co-educational while in some places like England, most of the famous private schools are for boys only. Nowadays, as more public schools are studying how single-sex education can affect the students, the numbers of single-sex schools are increasing across the world. Recently, single-sex schools have been highly recommended to many people, both girls and boys. This is because people find many problems in co-educational schools, especially on how the students with different gender interact and affect each other; “The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be, rather than recognizing how we are (This House),” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stated. Therefore, instead of being shy and timid in front of other people, I believe that we should all have a chance to fully express ourselves in a comfortable environment, single-sex schools.


One of the reasons why you should go to single-sex school is because boys and girls distract each other, especially as their sexual and emotional sides develop. Some people who get rejected by the ones they like can be depressed for like 3 years before moving on and meeting better people. According to research, girls are more distracted by boys than boys are distracted by girls (The Difference). If you’re a girl, I am pretty sure you have this one friend who always check on her appearance before going to school or after going to the bathroom. She also probably looks at the mirror every second to make sure that she looks presentable in front of the boys and other people. Another reason single-sex education exists is because girls and boys learn differently. The boys in my grade are sometimes so immature, irresponsible, and arrogant, it frustrates me to see them behave in such ways and it gets really annoying to talk to each other. For example, they like to tease each other and the girls with stupid things. Not once, but literally forever. According to research, girls tend to learn faster than boys since their brain develop quicker; this is the reason why in elementary boys are 50% more likely to repeat a grade than girls and they drop out of high school a third time more often (This House). Additionally, since boys don’t really like visual learnings they can become sloppy and tend to not pay attention to class. Therefore, if boys and girls learn in a different school with different environment they can learn more effectively than learning together.


During school days, there can be lots of different competitions. For example, math competitions, dancing competitions, drawing competitions and many more. Though the teachers may provide these competitions for fun and for the students to enjoy during the boring school days, academic competition between sexes are actually proven to be unhealthy. Therefore, having competitions in single-sex schools allow the students to show more passion and potential (This House).


Single-sex schools provide each gender with more attention. This means that girls from single-sex education participate more in class, they develop much higher self esteem. They also give them self-esteem and increases confidence in school. While in co-educational schools, it is shown that “Rather than girls defining themselves by their interests, they define themselves by what the boys think of them (This House).” From the research we can know that teachers frequently favour their own gender, most of the time it happens without them noticing it. Last time I really wanted to answer a specific question, so I held my hand up since he started reading out the question. However, my male teacher chose a boy next to me instead even though he didn’t put his hands up due to the fact that he didn’t know the answers. I really liked to participate in class and answer questions that the teachers ask but after repeating it a multiple times and was unnoticed, I lost interest in answering them and I barely try anymore. Is this because I am a girl?  According to the Association of university women, “girls are plagued by sexual harassment and neglected by sexist teachers, who pay more attention to boys.” This can have a huge impact on girl’s grades and many girls fall behind because of this.


On the other hand, many people believe that co-educational schools are better for both girls and boys. They believe that formative years of children are the best time to be exposed to another gender. This is because they get to learn each other’s behavior and be better prepared for adult life. This is what the school needs to do , they need to prepare its students for life in future, which involves interaction between sexes. Most of the time, men says they don’t understand women. This may be because they were sent to single-sex schools. It is proven that boys who went to single-sex schools are more likely to get divorced and suffer from depression in 40s. However, through research it is shown that when they are young, they should be around those they feel most comfortable with. Between age 7 and 15, they are gravitated towards their own sex and students naturally tend to behave better towards the same gender (This House). Therefore, it is saying that it is best to study in single-sex schools during these time. Also in these ages, it is better if some subjects are better taught separately like sex education as well as gender issues. Don’t you feel uncomfortable learning about sex education with boys in your classroom?


“There are no specific evidence why single-sex schools are bad for girls, but it seems like it has a lot of effect for boys.” Mary Bousted (general secretary of the Association of teachers and lecturers) says “Single-sex schools are good for girls but bad for boys, both in terms of academic performance and socialisation.” This is because men dislike male dominated environment. Boys going to single-sex schools hates to go to school more than boys learning in co-educational schools. It is also said by Dr. Diana Leonard that “boys learn better when they are with girls and they actually learn to get on better.” Not only they learn better, “Single-sex schooling moderates the effect of gender-stereotyping in terms of choice of field of study.”  This means that learning in a co-educational school would widen subject course. However, just because it is only better for girls and not boys it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t go to single-sex schools. I think that girls especially should be able to go to single-sex schools for their better education and the advantages they could earn through this.


Overall, looking at it in many different point of views, we can conclude that single-schools are better, especially for girls. Many people state that single-sex schools are atrocious for both genders, but they still exist, and in some places they are increasing. This shows that they have a lot of important reasons for continuously existing. Though people may say that single-sex schools has less benefits for boys compared to girls, in my opinion, now it is also time for girls to shine in the world. Single-sex schools allow students, especially girls, to be more confident, passionate, and ambitious. Some girls are already liking single-sex education: “I like that there are no boys to distract us and that class size is small enough that we all get time and attention of our teacher.” said Hannah. Girls also want the same amount of attention for teachers as they give to the boys. I think that they should also get what they want. Single-sex schools for girls are one of the act for gender equality as there are some countries that favor male more than female (This House). “In your point of view, how unfair are co-educational schools?”




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