Promoting Gender Equality through Co-Ed Boarding School Education


Historically, the images that come to mind when thinking of residential schools in India are those of boarding schools in Darjeeling, Dehradun, Mussoorie and other such picturesque locations. These schools have become iconic not just because of their heritage but also because of their setting.

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Parents nowadays put great emphasis finding the best boarding school for their children, on the basis of not just their overall reputation, but their education board affiliation as well. All too often, parents have very specific requirements, such as a CBSE boarding school in Siliguri or in Shimla, or an ICSE boarding school in Ooty or Bangalore.

Research conducted by The Academy of Boarding Schools has shown that students of boarding schools tend to perform better in university as well as in their professional lives. Boarding schools inculcate in students a sense of responsibility and foster habits of discipline and self sufficiency.

The experience of living and studying away from home and one’s family is tremendously helpful in building self confidence.

It is during their formative years that children develop a proper understanding of the world that will shape their perspectives and opinions. Being in a shared environment with other children from vastly different backgrounds and cultural experiences helps them learn to appreciate and respect diversity as well as social equality.

Boarding schools are favoured by many parents as they provide a comprehensive and holistic education experience for their children in ways that regular day schools do not.

Traditionally, the overwhelming majority of students at boarding schools have been boys. Even in the Indian context, it has always been boys who have enjoyed greater privileges with regard to education. Gender inequality has long plagued Indian society, with boys being sent to elite institutions and girls being encouraged to stay at home and become ideal housewives.

However, it is promising to note that mindsets as well as attitudes are changing for the better. In recent times, education for girls has been intensively campaigned across the country to close the educational gap between the genders and promote equality in Indian society.

With the changing times, parents too are adopting progressive views and treating their sons and daughters alike. Alongside encouraging girls to pursue their dreams, they are increasingly opting to send their children to co-educational schools.

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Co-educational boarding schools promote gender equality as they provide an environment for children of both genders to interact with one another, helping them learn and grow, in turn preparing them for life outside and beyond the school campus.

Here are some of the ways in which a co-educational boarding school helps to promote gender equality:

Promotes unity in diversity

Co-educational boarding schools provide an environment for boys and girls of different backgrounds to learn together in a shared environment. This helps them understand each other better, appreciate and respect each other’s cultures and values while being together as a community.

Helps in the development of social skills

A co-educational setup helps boys and girls communicate more freely and openly with one another, making them understand socially acceptable behaviour as well as manners and etiquette. Boarding schools facilitate the development of social skills through actual practical experience interacting with people with contrasting opinions and of different backgrounds.

Helps to build confidence

Boarding schools are environments where children learn to live and study without their families. Being in the presence of children of the opposite sex helps boys and girls become more confident at expressing their views and becoming better communicators. They also help children become self-sufficient and resilient.

Makes children socially aware

Co-educational environments help children of both genders engage in mutually enriching discussions as well as gain awareness regarding the society at large, in turn helping them to have a deeper understanding of prevailing socio-cultural issues and how they can contribute to the making of a better world.

Facilitates all-round personal development

Providing an environment for children to learn and develop self sufficiency while learning how to interact with their peers leads to them becoming more open-minded and balanced. Boarding schools are focused on equipping children with practical life skills and instilling values in addition to imparting theoretical knowledge in the classroom.

Fosters collaboration and teamwork

Keeping in mind the diverse social setting that boarding schools offer them, children learn to become better team players and acquire the skills of collaboration. Through group activities they learn the importance of working together towards a common goal. Boarding school education also encourages competitiveness among children and instils in them a desire to continuously improve.

Develops leadership skills

Boarding schools with co-educational environments are more conducive to the development of leadership skills such as propriety, determination and resourcefulness as they result in children taking greater initiatives and becoming more willing to step out of their comfort zone to achieve a certain goal.

Creates lasting friendships

Having been part of a shared experience with people of varied backgrounds makes children more empathetic and broadminded. This in turn leads to the formation of meaningful and lasting relationships as well as a more diverse group of friends later on in life as well.

Smoothens transitions to both university and professional life

The outside world is not divided along the lines of gender. Co-educational boarding schools provide a more realistic scenario for children to understand their greater community in which they will eventually be playing an active role.

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In view of the various advantages of co-educational boarding schools which are listed above, one should certainly consider a boarding school experience for their children as boarding schools offer children a much more immersive experience than regular day schools would. A co-educational boarding school experience helps children have a more comprehensive and realistic understanding of society as well as their own role and ability to influence change in the world around them.

India boasts of some renowned boarding schools that are widely hailed for their standards of education. These schools have produced exceptional men and women who have excelled in their fields and made a significant impact on the world.

Boarding schools contribute greatly to the growth and development of the nation by providing an all-round experience for children to become future leaders. Wherever in India you may be located, and whether you are looking for a boarding school in North Bengal, in South India, in Himachal Pradesh or in metro cities like Mumbai and Delhi, there is bound to be a boarding school that meets your requirements.

So, are you ready to equip your child to take on the world?

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