To address “decline in result of Class 10 in schools” and increase enrolment, the Delhi govt has set a deadline of July 2020 to convert all boys’ and girls’ schools under it to co-educational ones.
1. Do you think converting all schools to co-ed is a good idea?
Shabana: I think so. Girls face a lot of discrimination. This way, both boys and girls can study together. Some people think that it is bad for girls to study with boys. I don’t think that is the case.
Aman: It’s a good idea, but it may also affect discipline. The classrooms will be crowded… But it is a good idea because then the entire school will become one. Now we have separate schools for boys and girls. Also, all trophies will come to one school, whether girls or boys win them.
2. Will your parents object to the government’s plans?
Shabana: No. Even they believe that girls and boys shouldn’t be treated differently. They don’t want girls to be discriminated against. They are very clear about it. (Both Khan’s parents work as labourers).
Aman: I think they will be fine with it. For them, ultimately, it is about their children studying. They don’t want anything else. They only want the school to provide good education, that’s all. They are not concerned about whether girls and boys are studying together or separately.
3. Outside school, do you have boys and girls among your friends?
Shabana: Yes. I take tuitions at the Senior Secondary Boys School nearby. It is for two hours everyday after school. There are about 40-50 people, both boys and girls.
Aman: I have a lot of friends outside of school — at tuition classes, in my neighbourhood. It’s a mixed group of boys and girls. They are my best friends.
4. Do you interact with the opposite sex during any activities at school?
Shabana: Yes, for drawing, music and English classes. The drawing classes are held at the primary school nearby, where primary school boys and boys from the Senior Secondary Boys School join us. We all draw together. It happens a few times in the week. For the music classes, boys come to the girls school.
Aman: Yes. Recently, there was a dance competition and both boys and girls participated and also got trophies. For the annual day function, girls come to our school to participate in the event, and we go to their school as well. It happens alternatively.
5. Girls have been performing better than boys in Board exams every year. Why do you think that is the case?
Shabana: I think both girls and boys are capable of doing well in exams. Everyone has some skill. It’s not that girls are more hardworking, we are both equal.
Aman: Girls are definitely becoming smarter now. I think they need more education, knowledge… Boys are smart too, but they tend to get more interested in roaming around. That hampers their studies. But if a girl notices that a boy is getting distracted, and if she is his friend, she often alerts him. So then, definitely, schools should be made co-educational. It will help the boys.