School is about more than just education

CRAIG CONDON, TEACHER AT RAI VALLEY AREA SCHOOL
Last updated 05:00 12/01/2014

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OPINION: The pros and cons of co-education have been a discussion in both the academic and public arena for many years and no doubt when this subject is raised it brings back some emotional thoughts from many of our own school days.

History shows that as far back as the ancient Greeks and Chinese, education was purely reserved for males and it wasn't until the late 19th and early 20th century that this regime was changed.

Whichever education system is best for males or females in their academic achievement will still be discussed in years to come, even with or without the merger of the Marlborough Boys' and Girls' colleges.

However, education is not purely based on achievement in the academic arena; there is far more to it than getting the equation or assignment correct. It is about young people, our future leaders, learning to live, work, participate and communicate with respect for each other within the community.

The classroom is one of the main areas where children can learn these skills from the age of 5 until they are young adults at the age of 18 if they attend a mixed gender school.

They can learn that both genders have different attributes, which can't be learnt from a text book or from a clip on the internet. That emotions are real and not simply something that can be found on Google.

They can learn that face to face conversation is important and an internet chat room is not always reality.

Both genders can also appreciate the importance of showing an empathy and understanding for one another and the need to be aware of others as equals instead of just the old cliche "the opposite sex".

Life is all about relationships and getting along with others of both the same and opposite gender.

What better way to learn about this than in the classroom.

In the big educational picture, if single gender schools are so beneficial why is there not a push in the educational sector and the academic arena for single-gender primary schools?

With these thoughts in mind, would not the best choice for our children be schools that cater for both genders, to enhance these skills that are a mark on life's transcript instead of simply a mark on a transcript for life.

The Ministry of Education is asking the Marlborough community what they want for the future of secondary schooling in Blenheim before money is allocated to address earthquake-risk and leaky buildings at Marlborough Boys' and Marlborough Girls' colleges.

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A public meeting will be held from 7pm till 9pm on January 20 in the Marlborough Girls' College assembly hall.

Submissions will be accepted until February 3.

- The Marlborough Express

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