Ireland should phase out “totally unnatural” single-sex schools, says Newstalk Breakfast presenter 1 year ago

Ireland should phase out “totally unnatural” single-sex schools, says Newstalk Breakfast presenter

“It’s something I feel pretty strongly about”

Ireland remains one of the very few countries that still has schools segregated between boys and girls.

Many primary schools are now mixed, but as for secondary education, the majority of schools remain single-sex, despite more and more people feeling this needs to change.

According to Newstalk Breakfast presenter Shane Coleman, it is time for Ireland to phase out “totally unnatural” single-sex schools.

Coleman was speaking after Newstalk reporter Sarah Madden spoke to principals all over the country to find out why single-sex schools remain such a large part of the Irish education system.

“It’s something I feel pretty strongly about,” the presenter said.

“I think all schools, ideally, should be co-ed. If you look across Europe, in the vast, vast majority of countries, schools - certainly State-funded schools - are all co-ed."

He added:

“I just think it makes much more sense. It is much more natural and I think it helps both boys and girls.”

Coleman said there are "certain traits" that people pick up in single-sex schools that could be avoided with a mixed approach.“I think it sort of softens the worst features,” he said.

“If you have an all-boys or an all-girls school, I think there are certain traits you see in those schools – particularly in boys’ schools, that kind of machismo and so on. I think it takes the edge off that

“The reality is we want an equal society. We want men and women to live together in harmony; we want to get rid of toxic masculinity. How can you do that if you are separating them for schools?

“I just think it is totally unnatural and it doesn’t make sense to me in the 21st Century.”

 'I think parents should have choice'

Fellow Newstalk presenter Ciara Kelly agreed with Coleman in regards to mixed education in principle – but said she feels uncertain that banning single-sex schools is the way to go.

“I do wonder about removing choice because I think parents should have a choice in what they do with their kids, but I think in principle you’re correct,”  Kelly said.

“I went to a mixed school and still have very close male friends from secondary school which I don’t think I necessarily would have at all if I went to girls’ school – I mean where would I have gotten them?"

She added:

“Because I sat in class with lads all day, we’re still pals 30 years later, so I do see that.

“But I don’t think the way to move away from it wouldn’t be to disallow people from making those choices.”

What do you think? Is it time to end single-sex education system? Or do you think boys and girls should be educated in different schools?