School and college where boys and girls study together are called co-educational. There are many co-educational institutions in our country. There are many arguments for and against co-education. Some are of the view that co-education is desirable at all stages of education, primary, secondary and at collegiate levels. Some are totally desirable at primary and collegiate levels and not at the secondary school level.
The problem is linked with the aims and objectives set to be achieved at different levels of education and also with the roles the boys and girls have to play in a society later in their lives. However, it is agreed that at the primary stage of education it is desirable to have co-education. At this stage boys and girls are innocent. They like to play together, live together and learn together.
The problem arises only at the secondary school level including +2 level. The boys and girls then enter the period of adolescence. Between the ages of 12 and 18 years, their rapid progress in physical growth. Their emotional changes too.
Boys prefer to join a group of boys of their age. Girls prefer to move in their peer groups. Girls would like to attract the attention of boys and vice-versa. It is during the period that boys and girls prepare themselves to play their future roles as men and women.
It is, therefore, necessary that girls and boys develop their aptitudes, interests and skill to play their future roles usefully and satisfactorily. Hence a separate curriculum is required at the secondary level to cater to the needs of girls and boys. Some argue that at the secondary stage of education, there shall be separate schools for boys and girls.
By the time the boys and girls reach the college, they cross the age of adolescence and are grown enough to realize their own responsibilities and known the consequences of their acts and deeds. Hence co-education is not harmful at the collegiate level.
Some argue that co-education leads to indiscipline. This view cannot be supported. Discipline implies observing the norms of conduct, approved by society. If society fails in its own norms it may affected the students as well. Some argue that the cinema, the T.V. and the western culture are creating problems of discipline. As our social fabric is still strong, boys and girls at the secondary school level do not often indulge in acts of serious indiscipline.
Even if it is desirable to have separate schools at the secondary level of education for boys and girls, a poor country like India cannot afford that. So co-education has to continue in our country at all stages of education. The only easy remedy we can think of is to appoint more lady teachers in schools which would help the cause of co-education.