The disadvantages of single gender education schools

Updated November 21, 2016

Whether secondary school or college, single-gender schools are generally considered the cream of the crop. Parents believe that if they take their children to all-boys or all-girls schools they will receive a better education that is more targeted toward their child's gender, without the distractions of the opposite sex. There are others on the other hand who believe that students in these types of schools do not necessarily benefit from single-gender education.


Due to a widespread belief that all-girls schools improve girls' grades in science and maths and that boys in all-boys schools perform better without the distraction of girls, the demand for admission is more competitive than at other types of schools, according to an article by Richard Harker in the June 2000 issue of the British Journal of Sociology of Education. This demand raises the tuition fees. As a result, girls and boys from lower-income families have less of a chance of acceptance than those from moneyed families.


It has not been proved that girls in single-gender schools get better grades than in traditional schools, says Eliot Jones in the August 2009 issue of the International Debate Education Association. In fact, it appears that students in schools that have a small student-to-teacher ratio and that maintain non-gender-biased instruction perform just as well as those in all-girls schools.

Social skills

In their daily lives, males and females regularly interact both socially as well as professionally. When students attend single-gender schools, they become limited in their abilities to successfully interact with members of the opposite sex. This may promote an inability to understand each other, thereby increasing negative future interactions.

In upper primary and early secondary school, girls often develop and mature more quickly than boys. Boys may develop some maturity as a result of observing and working with girls. Small amounts of competition spur each group to do better academically. Without some competition and observation, male students may lose out on increased academic and emotional growth.

Gender inequalities

For years men were treated to the best education available and were offered more job opportunities than females. All-boys schools promote this discrepancy and foster the belief that females are less capable than their male counterparts. Additionally, single-gender schools are prejudiced toward members of their own sex. Schools for females tend to have more female teachers and schools for males tend to have more male teachers.

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