Co Education vs Single Education in Pakistan


Co education has always remained a moot point for Pakistani parents. It is because the main religion followed here is Islam which does not allow male and female students to study together. Not only religion but our cultural values and traditions also do not permit such scheme of study. Surely it has benefits to its side that’s the reason why there are so many institutions but the parents still don’t want to send their children there. According to a survey taken on April 2010, 79% of the parents do not want their children to be sent to the co educational institutions. Quoting it here:

“79% Parents Do Not Like Co-Education In Pakistan”

Gilani Research Foundation survey claim

April 2010

Peshawar, Apr 03: Majority of people prefer girls-schools for their daughters to study. According to a Gilani Research Foundation survey carried out by Gallup Pakistan, majority of all Pakistanis (79%) claim they prefer all-girls schooling for their daughters whereas 16% say that if the standard of education and cost were the same they would prefer to send their girls to co-educational institutions. The remaining 5% were either unsure or gave no response.

A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the country were asked “Suppose the standard of education and the fee structure are the same, would you then prefer to educate your girls in a co-educational or an all girls institute?” Seventy nine percent parents said they would prefer all-girls- schools for their girls whereas 16% claimed they would send their daughter to co-educational institutes. The remaining 5% of the respondents were either unsure or gave no response.

The findings of the survey reveal that preference for co-education is higher amongst urbanites (24%) as compared to their rural counterparts (12%).

The study was released by Gilani foundation and carried out by Gallup Pakistan, the Pakistani affiliate of Gallup International. The recent survey was carried out among a sample of 2989 men and women in rural and urban areas of all four provinces of the country. F.P. report

So here you can see the fact. There are only 16% who will get their girls admitted to co institutions but with the condition that they were providing quality education and equal opportunities to both girls and boys. Not only Islam but Christianity has also an aversion to it. Similarly the Feminist Movement is also not in favor of it. Read what Kaye haw, writes in the book, “Educating Muslim Girls”:

“Debate amongst feminists continues as to whether or not single –sex schooling is the answer to equality of educational opportunity for girls. Echoing the work of Dale (1969, 1971, 1974), which is often considered as definitive work on this subject, Bone (1983), writing for the Equal Opportunities Commission, Steedman (1983) and Marsh (1989) all tend agree that any findings suggesting possible advantages of single-sex schooling for girls are for the most part inclusive and contradictory. Kenway and Wills (1986) considered the single-sex school debate urged that extremists feminist views which consider that any single-sex environment has to be better for girls than any co-educational settings should be dismissed. Nevertheless other educationalists still argue that mixed-sex system may carry definite disadvantages for the academic and social development for girls.

All of these have contributed to a developing theory concerning the educational experience and academic attainments for girls in different settings which point to the fact that a single-sex school environment is possibly academically more beneficial to girls and provides an environment which does not reinforce traditional sex stereotyping of girls and women.”

In our country, there are found much co educational institution, particularly the universities. Though the statistics show that here are a total of 79% parents who do not want their children to be sent to these places, such institutions are still blooming. “The Nation” published such a thought of parents in their 13 June 2008th publication as:

Coeducation system

Published: June 13, 2008

The Nation

Pakistan is an Islamic Republic and, accordingly, all the prevalent laws in our country correspond to the Islamic system of governance. But no department or institution of Pakistan complies fully with Islam. For instance, if we observe the education system in Pakistan, we will find many laws that are opposed to our religion. Take the example of coeducation. Islam strictly disallows this system of education. The environment in a coeducation institution invites manifold evils. Girls and boys grouping together, swapping mobile numbers and email addresses and connections being established outside the college premises creates opportunities of sin. In addition, on occasions of picnics, fairs and concerts etc, they go collectively, get naps together, and are occupied in all forms of entertainment. All these acts gravely affect the modesty of a Muslim girl and boy. That is the reason why Islam has denounced coeducation. Even the modest students face numerous impediments in acquiring education in such an atmosphere. They are not able to portray their true capabilities, as they remain hesitant. Keeping all these points in mind, I would like to request the higher authorities to try their best to promote a modest society that is pure from the evil of coeducation. -DR ANAM MUSTAFA, Karachi, via e-mail, May 29.

Islam, which is the most perfect religion of this world(and closest to nature), has not liked it. And if it’s disliked by it, then there must have been a strong reason for it. The status of co education in Islam can be well understood by what Kaye Haw, the same writer in the same book, described above, has quoted:

“Halstead (1991) outlines the arguments of Muslims for single-sex schooling as follows:

1- Islamic culture does not consider segregation of sexes to be “unnatural”. For Muslims this is an argument that implies that ‘the extent to which men and women interact is socially is biologically determined rather than socially conditioned by cultural, religious, social and economic values, beliefs and practices’.

2- Muslims believe that it is the responsibility of parents and the extended family to promote an attitude to sex and mutual understanding between the sexes set within the context of Islam. There is therefore no wish to see the school taking over this role. In fact within the family framework, it is urged. Muslim girls have more freedom to a balanced understanding, and confidence in the presence of the opposite sex, with less danger of sexual harassment.

3- In the common with feminists, Muslims would argue that the presence of boys in the class room has a distracting influence on the educational achievements of girls: it inhibits girls both socially and academically.

4- Muslims put more emphasis on the relationship between the teacher and student in the class room than on the interaction of the students, so to adopt a system which is dependent on the use of girls as a civilizing influence is the same argument adopted by the Swann Report (Swann 1985:510) over the issues of ‘separate schools’. In the other words, the presence of Muslims in state schools is needed ‘to help whites shed their prejudices’. In both cases the group with less power is being used by the educational systems to ameliorate a problem that belongs to the group with more. The same argument can also be implied to the ‘friendly competition’ between the sexes in the academic work: Muslims object to the outcome this girls end up second best in the competition for the teachers time and attention and that boys’ academic performance improves while that of girls does not. They also object to the principle behind it on religious grounds.

5- Muslims argue that the principle of equality is not necessarily satisfied by identical treatment. As there is relevant difference between boys and girls in their physical, emotional and mental development, there is injustice in treating them the same when in relevant respects they are different, just as much as there can be in treating them differently when in relevant

respects they are the same. ‘In Islam the notion of equality has the spiritual basis: “soul, moral nature, spiritual rights and potential” (Durkee 1990:68), but this is not held to be inconsistent with the recognition of physical, emotional and social differences. Differential social roles are not a denial of inequality in Islam (Iqbal 1975:12). When women may choose to be “just” wives and mothers or may choose economic or political roles for themselves in addition to these family responsibilities, but in neither case are they considered to be of less worth than men, whatever their roles: men and women will be rewarded equally by God for their role labours (Qur’an 3: 195; 33:35)’ (Halstead 1991:267-8).”

Similarly a web site had also quoted such a thing in an answer to a question which was asked by some anonymous. The same thing I am putting here:

Question: What does Islam have to say regarding co-education in schools? What are your viewpoints regarding this? Please elaborate on the pros and cons of such a system. Two popular arguments in favor of co-education are: 1. Coeducation builds confidence in a person and makes him/her a more complete person to live in a real world. In other words, studying in the same-sex education system makes a person lack in self confidence. 2. Another argument given by the proponents of co-education is that a person’s moral and Islamic values are built at home, thus neither co-education nor same-sex education plays any part in damaging or improving these values. My personal argument is against co-education and I say that in co-education environments students have more opportunity and temptations to go astray. They cannot maintain the right etiquette of intermingling as prescribed by the Islamic Shari‘ah, at all times during school hours. Also, students in a co-education school might become more consumed by how they appear or present themselves to the opposite sex as compared to their studies. Please comment.

Answer: I think you yourself have well described the pros and cons of subjecting students to co-education. I however would like to mention that co-education is not an issue that has specifically been addressed by the Shari‘ah. In other words, what we should keep in mind is the fact that co-education has not categorically been proscribed by the Almighty. However, there is no question about the view that it should be avoided, keeping in view the essence of the Islamic teachings regarding gender interaction and also the dictates of our intuition. As far as the arguments in favor of co-education are concerned, I believe that the strongest argument put forth by its proponents, who also have little knowledge about Islam, is the exhortation that Islam has extended to Muslims to allow their women into mosques and let them offer prayer in congregation if they want to. Why on earth should it not be allowed in schools and colleges then? To my mind, this seems to be the strongest of all arguments offered by them since, through this, they manipulate a religious directive in their own favor. A little deliberation here will reveal that there is a world of difference between the environment of a mosque and that of a school. In mosques, we indeed have an overwhelming feeling of the presence of the Almighty. Moreover, our intentions to visit and our concept regarding the sanctity of the mosque make a real difference in this respect. In spite of all this, Islam further enjoins certain etiquette to be observed by both Muslim men and women while they are in their Lord’s House. They are never allowed to intermingle freely or sit side by side. Ladies are directed to cover themselves properly and men have been directed to lower their gaze of which they become profoundly aware when they enter the sacred house. Is the situation with schools the same? Of course not. It is for this reason that co-education in schools and colleges must not be extrapolated on the basis of the permission given to women to attend mosques. As you have pointed out, the tremendous loss caused by co-education is moral degeneration. The students are completely exposed to the opposite sex. Curiosity plays its role well in this regard. The wrong ideals set by the

media and the awful bombardment of immoral images and characters fill the space left out by the germs of curiosity implanted by Satan. This reality coupled with the fact that they are mostly devoid of the supervision of any true and sincere mentor at school in that their teachers themselves do not present their students with a role model of morality, cause the innocent students to fall prey to the deadly predator of sexual impurity. Thus, the ideal situation that springs to mind when one takes into consideration the spirit of Islamic teachings and dictates of common sense is that provision of separate class rooms for male and female students is imperative. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the government to make necessary arrangements in order to realize this end. However, in my opinion, if in a developing country like Pakistan, the government is unable to provide separate classes for both sexes, they must take necessary steps to ensure that morality still plays an important role while deciding the curricular and extra-curricular activities of the institute in question. The underlying reason for this allowance is the stark reality that it is better to have some female doctors educated in an environment of co-education than to have our mothers and sisters be compelled to expose their private parts to male doctors in the time of ailment. Another step that the government must take in this regard is that they should very carefully choose the faculty of their institutes. All the teachers must be an embodiment of the values of decency and goodness. If these measures are taken, I am hopeful that the possibility of going astray will greatly decrease; though those at the helm of the state affairs will still be required to sincerely strive to provide separate campuses to their scholars, as soon as their funds allow them to. Read more: http://www.renaissance.com.pk/julq42y3.html

Co education though is not favorable, but the system is to be followed due to economic circumstances of the country. As a developing country Pakistan has not much economy to support separate institutions for girls and boys. There are a lot of people living under the poverty line. There are foreign debts. A lot of money is being spent on Agricultural sector, security and peace situation. Education is the backbone of a nation still it’s not the first priority of our rulers. There are less than enough educational institutions in the country. So under such circumstances, we have got to make do with co educational universities as through them both the boys and girls, can benefit from one single place.

“This is a modern concept and it has made a remarkable rapid progress. It was first introduced in Switzerland. Now it has become popular almost in the whole of Europe and the whole of America. The Eastern companies are also adopting this system gradually. In our country, opinions sharply differ on the issue of coeducation in colleges. The supporters of coeducation favor it mainly on two grounds, one economical and the other sociological. In the first place, they say that co-education is an economical measure in a poor country like Pakistan. It is not possible to maintain separate colleges for boys and girls. In the second place, the social contacts between the members of the two sexes are useful in many respects. The supporters of co-education say that if boys and girls are educated together, they will develop in them a sort of mutual understanding. This understanding will be helpful in their future lives as men and women. Moreover, it creates a spirit of competition in studies. Both try their hardest to out-do each other.” To conclude we may say that co-education is above objection in the professional colleges where the ultimate goal of all students is the same. However, in arts and science colleges where the two sexes are prepared for the normal routine of life, co-education is unnecessary.” (“ http://www.blurtit.com/q723687.html”)

F. K. KHAN DURRANI in her book A PLAN OF MUSLIM EDUCATIONAL REFORM says,

There is a lot of talk about co-education these days. There is no harm if boys and girls sit together in the primary level provided the teachers are women , though little boys sometimes object most strongly to having girls sitting on the same benches with them. A man wouldn’t understand how to handle little girls, where as a women understands how to handle little boys and girls. Co-education in the secondary school is nowhere in favor. It is just the time when boys must learn to be boys and girls naturally have to be girls and co education means repression of both, which cannot be good for either. It may not be so bad at college but separate institutions are decidedly better.”

So there are a lot of merits of co education, but there are demerits too. This sort of education is only good till its meant for education. If a proper environment of discipline is maintained and rules strictly followed it will be a good thing otherwise it will not be consented by the society. People say that these institutions are notorious and only meant for enjoyment and not for teaching activities. But if the discipline is maintained, these very intsitutions are giving good results. Schools under forces, for example. They are the known institutions through out the country, though the scheme followed is co. but on the other hand the situation is more than worse. They are not only violating the social and cultral norms but the religious laws as well. Their deeds are making people to see at the negative side only.Some of the institutions in our country are presenting such an image. The column written by Ansar Abbasi, a known journalist, throws light on it:

2 thoughts on “Co Education vs Single Education in Pakistan

  1. Rizwan Ahmed says:

    Well very nice & good info Miss Ansari…nyc work..although at some places things got repeated but still excellent job. References of surveys & from articles r very good. In short impressive work. Keep it up my dear!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s