Interaction between genders not a certainty in co-ed schools

It is short-sighted to assume that single-sex schools do not benefit students (Single-sex schools do not benefit students, by Mr Francis Cheng; Nov 25).

Schools, regardless of being single-sex or co-ed, are supposed to educate students on gender equality and encourage socialisation.

Co-ed schooling is thought to be more realistic.

However, a 2002 study by Dr Herman Brutsaert and Dr Mieke Van Houtte of Belgium's Ghent University found that in classroom settings, girls and boys preferred same-sex peers from pre-school through secondary school. This, in itself, creates gender segregation.

Other factors, such as gender-segregated co-curricular activities, differential treatment by teachers, and classroom interactions dominated by a single sex contribute to this gender disparity.

Perhaps we should conduct a large-scale study into the differences in students of single-sex versus co-ed schools in Singapore.

I agree that we need to break down the barriers of gender; however, this is a large issue that involves many factors and is not limited to schools.

It is important for us as individuals to recognise gender inequality and correct it. If we are to truly live in equality, society as a whole needs to let go of its preconceived notions about gender and its roles.

Vithya Krishnan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2017, with the headline 'Interaction between genders not a certainty in co-ed schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe