Throughout history, we have seen how different aspects of life in society have evolved in different directions. Values, concepts, cultures, ways of seeing the world, philosophies or political systems are born, modified and altered. The way we educate is no exception, generally evolving into an egalitarian educational practice that aims to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities regardless of race, condition, age or gender.
Regarding the latter, at present, in most schools and educational institutions in our country, boys and girls receive quality education in centers where they are trained in mixed classes where there is a presence of both sexes., We are talking about public or private. institutions. however, some schools that promote gender-neutral education still survive. In this article, we will analyze what this type of education is, what it stands for and the positions that exist in this regard.
Gender education: what is it and what is it for?
We call gender segregated education, also called differentiated education or segregated education, a type of educational model that is characterized by the defense of the teaching of separate training for members of each sex. In other words, we are dealing with a model that involves boys being educated with boys and girls with girls, without mixing in the classroom.
Formal sex-separated education is not a recent educational model, but appears when schooling becomes compulsory for both sexes. Already before compulsory schooling, there was a differentiated education, in the case of women, focused on acquiring the culture and skills necessary to successfully perform household chores. It was not until 1783 that compulsory education for girls began in Spain, albeit with a differentiated curriculum focused on traditional gender roles.
This differentiation would be maintained by the various laws that emerged through the ages, forming male and female schools. In fact, co-education did not appear in our country until 1901, although differences remain and for the most part education would be maintained as segregated by sex. Likewise, the various historical events and dictatorships would suppose a series of advances and setbacks in the pursuit of blended education. In fact, until the General Education Act of 1970, curriculum equality and true co-education would not be recognized.
Today, most Westerners have left this model behind, using an educational model in which mixed education of boys and girls prevails. However, there are still different schools that separate education by gender. While in many cases we are faced with a paradigm that is followed in more traditional and religious schools, the truth is that there are also sectors that defend it from a perspective that claims to seek the highest level of development. of both sexes.
Below we will take a look at some of the views taken into account both for positions favorable to this type of model and for those who are against.
Positions in favor of this type of education
Advocates of a sex-segregated education, who tend to call it differentiated education, propose that this type of education offers more educational possibilities and take refuge in the fact that it means an educational model to which parents who wish can attribute.
Another point that I usually add is the conception that with separate education it is possible to do differentiated assessment and action on specific gender issues and deal with the different pace of development presented by boys. and the girls. It could also facilitate the adjustment of education to specific developmental rhythms and generate less dropout and failure at school and facilitate academic success by adapting education to the evolving peculiarities of each sex.
They propose that each sex see its rhythm of development accepted and validated, so that it is not limited by the perception of differences with the other sex. Likewise, they also mention this type of education not as a sexist thing that seeks the submission of women over men but as a means of emancipation.
It is also often suggested that in blended education a specific pace and manner of acting is required of all students. without addressing the differences not only in development, but in the way they behave. The boy is considered to tend to be more energetic, competitive and emotional while the girl tends to a higher level of discipline and verbal and emotional reasoning.
From this position, it is also believed that it is common for many girls to feel uncomfortable with the high level of restlessness and activity of men, while boys often see that the level of biological maturation of men. their peers is higher than theirs and they are also penalized for their level of activation.
It has also been observed that in differentiated education there is generally a lower level of eating disorders and body image issues, in addition to lower levels of distraction by both sexes.
Postures opposed to sexual segregation
Positions against sex-separated education, which they usually call it segregated educationOn the other hand, argue that the separation of the two sexes into different classes makes it difficult to adapt to the real world. In fact, on a day-to-day basis, students live together and work with people of both sexes on an ongoing basis, with the gender segregation in the school setting making it difficult for them to get used to working together.
Likewise, coeducation or coeducational education implies the existence of equal opportunities between the two sexes, being educated in the same way and with the same options. Educational segregation involves limiting these options and generating two different classes of students, not benefiting all students in the same education.
The validation of possible different levels of development can lead to the erroneous attribution of a lower capacity of one or the other in certain types of study or learning. There is a risk of stereotyping students, And also do not take into account individual differences within the same sex.
They also note that much of the differences classically attributed to gender differences actually arise from differentiated ways of educating or viewing the figure of man and woman, and that biological differences exist and seem to facilitate the fact. that some skills are easier to acquire and / or master. by a certain sex are not greater than those existing among its members. Regarding individual differences, from the point of view of mixed education, the peculiarities and specific needs of each student should be taken into account without considering that they are only related to the biological sex with which they were born.
In addition, there would also be a positive effect in terms of value. Being educated together means that children can develop attitudes such as accepting different perspectives and ways of doing things, it promotes tolerance and facilitates the existence of respect and equality between men and women.
The present situation
As we have seen, gender segregation education is a controversial educational model that has its supporters and detractors. In Spain, the Constitutional Court recently determined that this educational model is constitutional and that can be paid publicly, Providing those families who want it. This is not an isolated case: in different European countries (for example in the United Kingdom and in France) and in the Americas (in Canada and United States), this educational model is applied in different centers which are not necessarily private. The same goes for Africa, South America, Asia and Australia.
However, today this type of education continues to be rejected by a large part of the population and Western society considering a model based on traditional gender roles, which generates inequalities and differences between the sexes, including it is poorly adaptive, unrepresentative of the real world and in which the lack of understanding and acceptance of differences and tolerance of diversity is facilitated.
- Alcazar, JA i Martos, JL (2005). Some thoughts on gender-differentiated education. Navarre: Eunsa Astrolabi.
- From the Order, M. (2017). Analysis of differentiated education in the context of egalitarian educational policies. Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. University of Cadiz.
- Calvo, M. (2005). Boys with boys, girls with girls. Cordoba: Almuzara.
- Subirats, M. (2010). Mixed school or segregation? An old and persistent debate. Journal of the Association for the Sociology of Education 3 (1): 146.