The policy on gender segregation in a school arises in a situation whereby the authorities of a school allows the enrolment of male and female students into its fold, but such students permitted to relate only with fellow students who are of the same sex as them. This practice of gender segregation in schools is fuelled basically by religious, cultural and social factors, anchored primarily on the promotion of sexual purity and overall discipline among students. Although it is believed by many who canvass support for the policy on gender segregation in schools, that the practice will help instil discipline and sexual purity into students, actually students can only attain a desirable level of responsibility and general discipline when they are exposed to an all-encompassing form of education whereby they can be better placed to take decisions that will not be inimical to their wellbeing.
The stunted status of educational sector of many nations of the world is one of the consequences of gender segregation in schools. When male and female students are compelled not to relate freely with one another in school, the spirit of brotherliness among such students will be stifled. When gender segregated students become graduates, they will find it difficult to come together to render help to schools where they were groomed, as it will be difficult for such students to learn at an old age what they were not taught in their formative stage of life, to wit; coming together as one body to champion a common cause.
Gender segregation in schools disposes students towards discriminatory tendencies. Gender segregation reinforces some stereotypes as to the socially acceptable manner in which men and women are to behave. My personal observation in the course of my academic sojourn in school years back indicates that in gender segregated institutions of learning, men are compelled to sit at the back, while women are expected to sit at the frontal part of classroom. Consequently, men who sit at the back of classroom are expected to exhibit masculine and extroverted tendencies, while women are compelled by tutors to be reserved, even when such women are inherently extroverted personalities. As a result, when the practice of segregating men and women in schools, based on their gender is encouraged; students who have been indoctrinated with stereotypical biases as to gender, race and social status of fellow citizens at other non-academic forum, find themselves unknowingly accepting gender segregation and other forms of discriminatory practices as the norm.
Gender segregation in schools alienates students from their teachers who are of the opposite sex with them. When students are compelled not to relate with members of the opposite sex in schools, it helps creates an atmosphere of psychological discomfort in such students. Accordingly, a student in a gender segregated school finds it difficult communicating effectively with his or her teacher who is of the opposite sex. A student encountering challenges while in a gender segregated school might lose the opportunity of relaying his fears to a teacher whom he or she believes could better attend to the problem, just because there exists an unofficial atmosphere of hostility in which a student is only expected to relate freely with members of his own sex. One might argue that the practice of gender segregation in schools is only enforced among students. However, one should not lose sight of the fact that students who find it difficult relating with their peers who are of the opposite sex, might find it difficult relating with a teacher of the opposite sex who is deemed a superior.
Gender segregation in schools causes disconnect in learning process. It is strange that students are prevented from mixing up with members of the opposite sex in school, whereas most of such students do relate with their siblings and friends who are members of the opposite sex in other environments different from school. As a result, many students in gender segregated schools do view institutions of learning from an abstract perspective, being a place where one cannot freely relate with one’s opposite sex. This absence of a friendly environment in schools, occasioned by gender segregation, makes it difficult for students of institutions of learning where gender segregation is practiced, to learn in a conducive and relaxed environment that will make them become intellectually empowered. Gender segregation in schools breeds gang and sinister groupings. This strange development is noticeable mainly among male students. When male students are compelled to sit at the back of classroom with their fellow men alone, as well as interact only with their male folks in school, an unofficial gang grouping is consequently formed. Male students who are serious minded, stand the risk of being influenced by their nefarious-minded male peers who they are compelled to cohabit with against their wish because of the practice of gender segregation.
Gender segregation in schools leads to the production of socially-deficient graduates. When students are not empowered to interact and relate freely with their fellow students of the opposite sex in school, they find it difficult thriving successfully in the outside world. A graduate of an institution of learning is expected to execute tasks given to him effectively, in order to prove his intellectual worth as one who passed through the four walls of an institution of learning. Interestingly, no man can exist as an island unto himself, and one must relate with both men and women in order to make a successful personality in one’s chosen career field. Unfortunately, it is a sad sight to behold, coming across many intellectually sound but socially deficient graduates who are unable to be of much to their society in giving life to theoretically acquired knowledge, because they find it difficult relating with members of the opposite sex.
Gender segregation in schools breeds individualistic and selfish tendencies. When students are compelled to relate only with members of their own sex, the practice unconsciously encourages those students to think about what affects them and their likes alone and not what affects the generality of those whom they coexist with. If a student in a gender segregated class falls into trouble, attention will be accorded to the affected student, mainly by those who are of the same sex with the affected student. This on the long run affects the harmonious coexistence of the society, as we end up having graduates who only think about what they can do to protect their interests and not that which could be done for the betterment of the interest of majority of those within their immediate environment. It will do our society more good than harm to abolish the practice of gender segregation in schools. We are humans firstly before becoming males and females. The practice of gender segregation in schools is a counterproductive one, which is in no way beneficial to the human race and should accordingly be discarded into the dustbin of irrelevance!