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Posts Tagged ‘co-ed schools’

The political demise of Australia’s first female Prime Minister was partly fuelled by virulent sexist attacks in many quarters, and disgracefully, even encouraged by her political opponents. The aggression and venomous hatred expressed in those attacks took one’s breath away.  So the question of an underlying cultural current of Australian misogyny arises. The evidence for it is palpable and ubiquitous. Why is it so? As Professor Julius Sumner Miller used to ask us regularly on TV.

Undoubtedly, a root cause of sexist behaviour in the WBL is the rampant apartheid of our school system. Boys and girls are meant to grow up together, and common sense tells you that this is the key to socialisation and the normalisation of respectful relations between the sexes. The gross misbehaviour of young men reported at ADFA, St Paul’s college (Sydney Uni) and rugby league clubs should come as no surprise when they’re educated in isolation from the opposite sex. Many current politicians have grown up in that stream of all-male schools and university colleges. The case of female politicans is more complicated.

As for the old furphy that girls will suffer academically by sitting next to boys, I challenge anyone to name a country of high-ranking academic achievement which has a secondary system of segregated schools. Wake up Australia, it’s time to confront the elephant in our collective room, and join the dots, if you’ll excuse the mixing of metaphors. Same sex schools are against nature!

Again Kookynie is at the progressive cutting edge of societal reforms. In 2009 KC took up the same issues and reported the merger of our single sex schools into St Kate’s, where the boys are flourishing. They understand the school’s clear dictum: ‘Aut disce aut discede’ (learn or leave). Their behaviour at the pub has improved dramatically. And the mixed soccer team has a waiting list. What further proof do you need?

 

Lao school

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Adolescent boys don’t know how to relate to girls, reports Gordon Parker, a psychiatrist who talks to parents at boys schools. Miranda Devine (SMH 13 August) linked this to youth suicide, over-medicalisation of depression, growing social pressures on adolescents. A conference at private boys school Shore on the ‘particular vulnerabilities of boys’ appears to miss the point.

The elephant in the room, so to speak, is the question of single sex schools. How do we expect boys to learn social skills vis a vis the opposite sex when they’re quarantined from normal daily contact during critical adolescent years. Doh, as they would say: being around girls is the best way of getting used to them. It starts with boys and girls relating as equals from an early age, and continuing through life. It’s common sense.

Argument about different learning rates of the sexes is a furphy, and inherited English traditions have a lot to answer for. Europeans do not generally have gender segregation at secondary level these days, except in some religious schools. It’s time for Australia to shake off archaic thinking and reunite the sexes at school. Lessening of boys anxiety and improved social skills will surely follow. Girls will ‘normalise’ too, and maybe society at large.

St Kate’s Kookynie accepted boys from nearby St Kevin’s this year, with the declining population adding logic to an effective merger. Historic St Kate’s is now a happy co-ed school for all denominations, with unanimous community support. St Kevin’s site is up for sale.

St Kate's Kookynie

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