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Mixed-sex education (also known as coeducation), is the integrated education of males and females in the same institution. The opposite situation is described as single-sex education. Most older institutions of higher education restricted their enrollment to a single sex at some point in their history, and since then have changed their policies to become coeducational.



In the United Kingdommarker the official term is mixed, and today most schools are mixed.A number of Quaker co-educational boarding schools were established before the 19th century.In Englandmarker the first non-Quaker public mixed-sex boarding school was Bedales Schoolmarker, founded in 1893 by John Haden Badley and becoming mixed in 1898. The Scottish Dollar Academymarker claims to be the first mixed-sex boarding school in the UK (in 1818). Many previously single-sex schools have begun to accept both sexes in the past few decades; for example, Clifton Collegemarker began to accept women in 1987.

Higher education institutions

The first United Kingdommarker university to allow ladies to enter on equal terms with gentlemen, and hence be admitted to academic degrees, was the University of London in 1878, with degrees being conferred upon the United Kingdom's first four female graduates in 1880.The first institution engaged in educating students, given the University of London's then role was an examining authority, to become fully co-educational was University College Londonmarker in 1878.The University of Cambridgemarker allowed women to take its examinations in 1881 but refused to confer degrees upon women until 1948. The University of Oxfordmarker allowed women to take its examinations in 1884 but refused to admit female graduands to the degrees if they passed the said examinations until 1920.


The first coeducational institution of higher education in the United States was Franklin Collegemarker in Lancaster, Pennsylvaniamarker, established in 1787. Its first enrollment class in 1787 consisted of 78 male and 36 female students. Among the latter was Rebecca Gratz, the first Jewish female college student in the United States. However, the college began having financial problems and it was reopened as an all-male institution. It became co-ed again in 1969 under its current name, Franklin and Marshall Collegemarker.

The longest continuously operating coeducational school in the United Statesmarker is Oberlin Collegemarker in Oberlin, Ohiomarker, which was established in 1833. The first four women to receive bachelor's degrees in the United States earned them at Oberlin in 1841. Later, in 1862, the first Black woman to receive a bachelor's degree (Mary Jane Patterson) also earned it from Oberlin College.

The University of Iowamarker became the first public or state university in the United States to admit women, and for much of the next century, public universities, and land grant universities in particular, would lead the way in higher education coeducation. Many other early coeducational universities, especially west of the Mississippi River, were private, such as Carleton Collegemarker (1866), Texas Christian Universitymarker (1873), and Stanford Universitymarker (1891).

At the same time, according to Irene Harwarth, Mindi Maline, and Elizabeth DeBra, "women's college were founded during the mid- and late-19th century in response to a need for advanced education for women at a time when they were not admitted to most institutions of higher education" [45008]. A notable example are the prestigious Seven Sisters. Of the seven, Vassar Collegemarker is now coeducational and Radcliffe College has merged with Harvard Universitymarker. Wellesley Collegemarker, Smith Collegemarker, Mount Holyoke Collegemarker, Bryn Mawr Collegemarker, and Barnard Collegemarker are still women's colleges.

Other notable women's colleges that have become coeducational include Ohio Wesleyan Female College in Ohiomarker, Skidmore Collegemarker, Wells Collegemarker, and Sarah Lawrence Collegemarker in New York state, Goucher Collegemarker in Maryland and Connecticut Collegemarker.

In U.S.A slang, "Coed" is an informal term for a female student attending a formerly all-male college or university (or any university). This usage reflects the historical process by which it was often female pupils who were admitted to schools originally reserved for boys, and thus it was they who were identified with its becoming "coeducational". The word is also often used to describe a situation in which both sexes are integrated in any form (e.g. "The team is co-ed").


The first mixed-sex institution of higher learning in Chinamarker was the Nanjing Higher Normal School, which was renamed National Central Universitymarker and Nanjing Universitymarker. For thousands of years in China, public schools especially public higher learning schools were for men, generally only schools established by zongzu (宗族, gens) for both male and female students. Somes schools such as Li Zhi's school in Ming Dynastymarker and Yuan Mei's school in Qing Dynastymarker enrolled both male and female students. In the 1910s women's universities were established such as Ginling Women's University and Peking Girls' Higher Normal School, but there were no coeducation in higher learning schools.

Tao Xingzhi, the Chinese advocator of mixed-sex education, proposed The Audit Law for Women Students (規定女子旁聽法案) at the meeting of Nanjing Higher Normal School held on December 7, 1919. He also proposed that the university recruit female students. The idea was supported by the president Guo Bingwen, academic director Liu Boming, and such famous professors as Lu Zhiwei and Yang Xingfo, but opposed by many famous men of the time. The meeting passed the law and decided to recruit women students next year. Nanjing Higher Normal School enrolled eight Chinese women students in 1920. In the same year Peking Universitymarker also began to allow women students to audit classes. One of the most notable female students of that time was Jianxiong Wu.

In 1949, the People's Republic of Chinamarker was founded. The government of PRC has provided equal opportunities for education since then, and all schools and universities have become mixed-sex. In recent years, however, many female and/or single-sex schools have again emerged for special vocational training needs but equal rights for education still apply to all citizens.

Hong Kong

St. Paul's Co-educational College was the first mixed-sex secondary school in Hong Kongmarker. It was founded in 1915 as St. Paul's Girls' College. At the end of World War II it was temporarily merged with St. Paul's College, which is a boys' school. When classes at the campus of St. Paul's College were resumed, it continued to be mixed, and changed to its present name.

See also


  1. , Schedule 6, regulation 11, clause 5(b).
  2. pages XVII to XVIII of The University of London and the World of Learning, 1836-1986 By Francis Michael Longstreth Thompson Contributor Francis Michael Longstreth Thompson Published by Continuum International Publishing Group, 1990 ISBN 9781852850326
  3. ibidem

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