Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Coeducation is no more an issue in Pakistan

Coeducation is defined as the integrated education of males and females in the same institutions. The proposition, coeducation is no more an issue in Pakistan, carries an embedded assumption that in the past coeducation has been an issue in Pakistan. But it’s a settled issue now. What did bring about the sea change in the society?

To understand it we need to look at the past. It appears that traditional structures of the society such as tribalism and feudalism regarded the very education particularly of female unnecessary if not harmful altogether. They also assigned a secondary social position to the women. The Mullah also joined the club and interpreted the coeducation as an un-Islamic practice. So, the conservative mindset was in fact an amalgamation of antipathy towards modern education and an inferior status of women.

However, the process of modernization characterized by industrialization, urbanization, education and incremental media exposure gradually changed the general thinking regarding the social status of women and their role in the various walks of life. People also realized:

“Acquisition of knowledge is first and foremost duty of every men and women.”

Industrialization and business induced a change in the patterns of economy and opened up new opportunities for the women to take part in economic activity. This provided an impetus for change in attitude towards the role and position of the women. Similarly, urbanization and media also played an important role in loosening the traditional bonds of culture and religion.

The awareness created by the modern education and media associated with the modernization processes played a great role in dissolving the issue of coeducation. It enabled people to overcome the influences of tradition and religion. And there was a greater realization that women were responsible, trustworthy, and capable to learn and contribute like men.

Besides this change in the mindset, there was an economic logic of coeducation as well. The state had not enough resources to establish single-sex education institutions at all level due to the resources constraints. Owing to the aforementioned factors there was a greater urge for education of men and women in the society. Therefore the idea of coeducation became more acceptable.

To conclude, it is clear by now that the issue of coeducation was dissolved in Pakistan largely due to the gradual change in the mindset of the society. The modernization processes such as greater industrialization, expansion of urban centres, media, education and economic pressures played their role as a catalyst for change.
Moreover, coeducation in Pakistan is by and large provided at the university level only. This perhaps has also helped to assuage the concerns regarding the mixed-sex education.

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