Co-education is a point of controversy. Divergent opinions are given about it. For the first time, it was adopted in Switzerland. Now it is in vogue even in conservative countries. Nearly in all the advanced countries of the world, it is popular, but in the U. S. A., it is most popular.
Co-education in India
Indians are conservative in regard to women. During the Muslim period, Indian society was so back ward that it denied women the right of having education. This condition continued till the end of the 19th century. Now the conditions are much different. Co-education exists in Indian schools, colleges and universities and has become very popular in spite of strong opposition.
Points in favour of co-education
No final opinion can be given about co-education. It is beyond controversy that it is economical. For a country like India which cannot bear the double burden of expenditure incurred in having separate schools for boys and girls, co-education gives a healthy atmosphere to boys and girls to develop their personality. Men and women are complementary to each other. They are co-partner in the battle of life. It is very necessary for them to understand each other from the very beginning of life. In co-education, girls shed their shyness and boys become polished and learn to behave with decency in the presence of woman. In a school or college having co-education, the spirit of competition is keener which is good to the tone of education.
Points against co-education
Much can be said against co-education. It does more harm than good. It is unwise to prescribe the same course of study for boys and girls. The subject taught to the girls at the school or college along with the boys do not benefit them in later life. Subjects like Logic. Ancient History and Greek Literature have no practical utility for woman. For practical purposes, women should study Hygiene. Child Psychology and Home Science to play the role of a good housewife and an ideal mother.
Its moral aspects
The propriety of co-education, can be questioned on moral grounds. Constant and free contacts between boys and girls create ugly situations sometimes. There are sometimes moral lapses which cannot be looked at with a kind eye by any human being. The presence of a girl in the midst of boys is not a source of competition for hard work but a kind of distraction. Girls lose their feminine equality and cultivate masculine touch. On the other hand, boys cultivate female tendencies. Sometimes teachers find themselves on the burns of dilemma to explain certain subject to a mixed class.
Co-education in India is on experimental stage. We have begun to feel reasonably that co-education is suitable for primary and secondary schools but not for Intermediate and Degree Colleges. It may be suitable for post-graduate classes because by the time, the students reach post-graduate stage, their mind are developed enough to understand the opposite sex properly.