Youth Stories

Segregation in Elite Schools – Success?

An interesting phenomena observed in elite schools in the twin cities and in Lahore is that of segregation in elite schools. By elite schools I am referring to schools such as Beaconhouse, Lahore Grammar School and the City School etc. These are schools that are teaching the Cambridge curriculum and providing primary and secondary GCE education. Students in these schools are predominantly from middle class backgrounds or higher.

Argument for Segregation

The predominant rhetoric in favor of segregation is the Islamic one. While I cannot contest that viewpoint nor can I argue against it without inciting a debate that could turn vastly ugly, I do believe that segregation has been counter productive to the very sentiment that the Islamic rhetoric would seek to promote through its imposition. It is argued that the teenage years are a very sensitive age for students (read: puberty) and hence, being continually exposed to members of the opposite sex during this fragile period of discovering and developing one’s sexuality can cause untoward harm to both parties. While the logic may hold its ground in a different context, it has fallen flat on its face in the context of Pakistan.

Unable to have access to members of the opposite sex, a certain intrigue and mystery lends itself to the thought of interaction. Teens seek the thrill of discovering the unknown and consequently tuition academy culture is exploited and promoted. Children typically dress to kill for tuition and are given incentive to bunk school once they form friendships at tuition.

Segregating students at a tender age lends  itself to entice curiosity beyond the normal and the attempt to curb interaction backfires and serves to add the thrill of adventure to the prospect. Teenagers experiment to establish the boundaries of social conduct within their own moral compasses and segregation forces them to be more flexible than they would have been in making contact with the opposite gender.

I have reached the conclusion that segregation promotes the thing it is meant to discourage through observation. I have studied in both segregated schools and co-ed schools and the prospect of dating and relationships has a significantly higher charm for girls who studied in an all girls environment.

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