St Monica’s College, Epping was established in 1964 as a girls’ school. This served a specific purpose at that time. In the 1970’s the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, local clergy and parishioners saw a real need for boys’ Catholic Education thus in 1978 St Monica’s College, Epping proudly became coeducational. Our school has flourished ever since.
In all of our local Primary schools (Government and Catholic) coeducation is offered. In all tertiary institutions (universities and TAFES etc.) coeducation is the only way education is provided. I argue that all education is delivered at its best through coeducation.
There are many reasons why I contend that the coeducation choice Monican parents have made for their children is the right one. Being together throughout the day, feelings of comradeship and friendships develop in a natural way between girls and boys. This mutual feeling and uplifting experiences are inherently valuable to the fully rounded person. These friendships emerge through shared experiences in classrooms, from participating in shared activities outside the formal curriculum, and through shared membership in clubs and teams.
Coeducation assists significantly in breaking down sexist attitudes in both genders. Boys and girls learn in a natural classroom environment, not sheltered away from each other, and in this normal way appropriate respect ought to develop between the genders. In the coeducational classroom, both female and male perspectives are explored, thus greater understanding between the sexes, more consideration of points of view, and increased development of individuals both intellectually and socially.
Truly, coeducation reflects 100% the diversity of society. Coeducation, in other words, IS the real world. Accordingly, students are better prepared to enter the workforce, more capable of coping in post-secondary educational institutions, and more confident to involve themselves in discussions and activities with the opposite sex. Of course they are because they have mixed and grown up with the opposite sex from kindergarten years.
I believe that girls are more confident to express their views on all manner of things in their daily life in a coeducational College and exactly the same applies to boys. Students feel comfortable in whom they are and the chances are many to develop healthy and positive attitudes and self-image. Let us hope that this in turn reduces harassment and bullying.
Coeducation is popular throughout the world and a chief reason for this is that it allows for greater socialisation, wider diversity of experiences and fewer gender stereotypes for young people. This can only be healthy, good, and most desirable. It could be stated that collaboration between the sexes, not separation, fosters equality. In a coeducational setting, students are exposed to both male and female role models, students learn to lead the opposite sex in all types of situations, and finding a group of friends to match up with is easier.
There are myths associated with coeducation just as there are with single sex education. These should all be dispelled as we come down to the one, most critical reality – humans live in a coeducational world and consequently enjoying the coeducation experience in school years should form a holistic person, confident and wise.
Brian E. Hanley,
B.A., Dip. Ed., Grad. Dip. Ed. Admin., M. Ed., MACE, FACEL