The objective of this essay is to scrupulously explain the writer's understanding of the theoretical factors that underlie social discrepancies such as divisions, inequalities and identities in regard to educational establishments the world over. It suffices to say that the observations made on the sociological ramifications of meddled educational orientations around the globe, beg for the righting of these scintillating issues if harmony is to pervade the social fabric.
Education plays a monumental role in shaping a society, hence an alteration of its provision however slight, significantly gives a society a particular outlook. Single sex educational environment has been noted to up students' ability succeed to the next level. Girls have benefited overwhelmingly out of this system as a research shows in Australian state of Euphoria. The novelty is anchored on the commonsensical understanding that girls benefit from single-sex provision and boys from co-education environments (Tsolidis & Dobson, 2006 p. 215). But schools with such provisions are not always uncommon among the high socio-economic class.
Therefore, the socio-economic background also influences the educational establishment at the expense of those found at the bottom of the structure. Elite schools thrive in rich suburbs with upper class quality of education. The graduates from these schools similarly imitate the trends to their children and forever the society is skewed towards the glory of the wealthy.
The society takes a natural course in adjusting to these changes brought about by the malleable learning institutions.
The essay majorly discusses the pertinent theoretical viewpoints that explain the genesis of social divisions, different forms of inequalities, and general social identity inherent within the educational structures. The first section explores both the pros and cons of single-sex educational provision, cutting across both genders. It discusses the impact on boyhood development into adulthood considering the plethora of feminist movements that endanger their progress and dominance.
The second section deals with the question of socio-economic implications that influence a student's school of admission and whether s/he may eventually live according to his/her desired social class. Different cultures are affected by this factor, which may narrow down to racial discrimination (Felice, 1981 p. 408).
Single-Sex Educational Provision and its Effects
As has been briefly mentioned above, most schools resort to assigning either boys alone or girls alone to a particular learning institution to enhance the rate of their success. Desirable results have been the primary aim of this 'sexist' establishment because parents or guardians have always wanted the best for their children. The well intentioned action plan has its flip side especially on the child's sociological development that in turn influences the society.
It has been equivocally established that at a tender school age, boys are bad for girls and girls good for boys. Therefore, it follows that in a school where the two genders are mixed, boys will be inclined to excel while girls grossly underperform. So, single-sex schooling was introduced to solve this problem of gender inequality. That is to say, to be a panacea for girls (Tsolidis & Dobson, 2006, p.). Boys have been said to benefit from a co-educational system since they are buoyed by gender stereotypic views rampant in such environment. Academics for along time has been a male venture while female left to spectate. Boys follow this tradition and condescend on girls who in turn retreat to passive learning. Learning areas such as in mathematics, science and technology were considered masculine, strictly non-traditional for girls. Hence, boys get an edge when studying together with girls (Malacova 2007, p. 236).
Girls must therefore, be liberated from these far-fetched retrogressive mental states by secluding them from boys' deleterious behavior/attitude. They will freely be themselves "to exercise leadership and learn in an environment free of interference and the scrutiny of male classmates" (Tsolidis & Dobson 2006, p. 216). In fact, Malacova (2007, p. 236) reports that achievements of girls currently surpass those of boys on almost all areas, the reason being rapid improvement of girls in an environment without boys.
The resultant scenario that the single-sex schooling brings is the inflation of girls' welfare thereby totally ignoring the progress of boys. As a consequence of this neglect, boys have systematically under-achieved in the academic front, their performance dismally dropping far below that of girls, if the above statistics (in the preceding paragraph) is anything to go by. Accordingly, there is a high likelihood that concern about boys' educational success will conjure up in its stakeholders, the urgency to multiply the single-sex educational provision to boost the boys' performance (Tsolidis & Dodson 2006, p. 217).
It is in educational environment where young people are molded to become responsible citizens of the world in general and their respective countries in particular. The advent of single-sex segregation schools, much as it has benefited girls, it has with equal measure ruined the manhood of boys. According to Smith (2007, p. 180) boys have become the ultimate preys of a feminist biased educational system tailored towards disempowerment through various deficiencies found in schools.
Another drawback to this sexualization of schools is the damage it deals on the construction of femininity and masculinity of individual students, which subsequently affects a society as a whole. For instance, the message that is sent to these little children when they are segregated on the basis of their gender may invoke in them homophobic tendencies. Weird sexual orientations such as gayism and lesbianism, as a matter of fact, may stem from the fears caused by this segregation. Moreover, single sex-provision sometimes denies the students a range of curriculum choices, and "experience of each other, which facilitates successful social immersion into future study and work" (Tsolidis & Dobson 2006, p. 216). Connected to that is the limited admissions in such schools that leaves quite a number of co-educational institutions with a bias for boys. The imbalance that is caused often bars girls from poor backgrounds from enrolling due to the limited choices they have (Tsolidis & Dobson 2006, p. 216).
Socio-economic factors as affecting Education
Taking Australia as the case study, her education system is divided into governmental and non-governmental schools. Independent schools which are exclusively non-governmental also comprise Catholic schools. Whilst the government provides free tuition fees, the other category of schools charge fees with non-Catholic independents topping the list (Tsolidis & Dobson, 2006 p. 214). Interestingly, the single-sex schools are among the exorbitant institutions of learning.
An analysis done on the twelfth grade students in an Australian school revealed that students from elitist institutions passed highly and could easily get enrolled in a university of their choice. Such institutions included the independent schools and some Catholic schools. The reason for this success was identified as the availability of exceptional learning resources. Geographical location of these schools spoke volumes about their elitism. In contrast, the governmental schools and some Catholic school did not record excellent performance. Lack of adequate learning resources can be attributed as the major setback (Tsolidis & Dobson 2006, p. 218).
It is therefore evident that the question of social justice, especially distributive justice, in education can hardly escape an attentive mind. It brings into the fore, the dichotomy that exists between different categories of students and among schools. Cultural as well as socio-economic dissimilitude between students; in school admission policies; and relative resourcing of schools; fuel social discrepancies in the society (Teese 2000, p. 157).
What expresses the strongest connexion between excellent performance, socio-economic background and school sector is the availability of pecuniary resources needed for a child's educational support (Birrell, et al. 2005, p. 64).
It is imperative, therefore, to conclude that stakeholders in the educational sectors the world over, should come up with policies that harmonize the relationship between the two genders. In so doing, the rifts in societies that take different forms will be averted.
Well, it is commendable to initiate a single- sex school as a latter day move to emancipate the girl folk from the dungeon of ignorance and blatant discrimination. However, the impact of this move should be painstakingly assessed to prevent the damage it may cause to the boy child when he comes of age.
Lastly, the writer recommends that all educational institutions should be left to the governments to run so as to guarantee equal opportunities to students from all socio-economic backgrounds.
- Birrell, B, Rapson, V, Dobson, I, R & Smith, T, F 2005, People and Place: The Myth of Too Many University Students, vol.13, no.1, pp 64..
- Felice, L,G 1981, Black Students Dropout Behavior: Disengagement from school Rejection and Racial Discrimination vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 415-424.
- Malacova, E 2007, Oxford Review of Education: Effect of single-sex education on progress in GCSE vol. 33, no. 2, pp.233-259.
- Smith, J 2007, Gender and Education: 'Ye've got 'ave balls to play this game sir!' Boys, peers and fears: the negative influence of school-based 'cultural accomplices' in constructing hegemonic masculinities vol. 19, no. 2, pp.179-198.
- Teese, R 2000, Academic success and social power: examinations and inequality, Melbourne University Press, Carlton.
- Tsolidis, G & Dobson, I, R 2006, Gender and Education: Single-sex schooling: is it simply a class act? vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 213-228.