Coed or Single-sex Education: Which is better for your child?

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Ateneo University President Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, has announced that the Ateneo high school will be accepting female students for SY 2016 - 2017.


According to reports, Ateneo de Manila University will officially be opening its doors to girls for high school levels beginning school year 2016-2017. Ateneo University President Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, recently announced that in line with Ateneo’s ongoing K-12 Basic Education Reform program, the school will now be holding classes for Grades 11 and 12 – more commonly referred to as Senior High School.

Therefore, in school year 2016-2017, the Ateneo High School will be composed of four years of junior high school (grades 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (grades 11 to 12).

Fr. Villarin went on to say that the senior high school will be “open to the incoming Ateneo grade 11 boys, plus 300 more students from other schools outside the Ateneo High School.”

The 300 new entrants – “both boys and girls” – will be accepted “from public, parochial and select private schools all over the country.”

He emphasizes though that “the Ateneo Grade School and the Junior High School remain to be exclusive schools for boys.”

Below is the transcript of the full memo from Fr. Villarin, dated March 13, 2015:

Memo to: The University Community

Subject: Opening of the Senior High School in SY 2016-2017

I am pleased to inform you of a landmark decision. At its meeting on 7 February 2015, the Board of Trustees approved the opening of the Senior High School (SHS) in school year 2016-2017.

The creation of the SHS is a milestone in our ongoing K-12 Basic Education Reform program. This completes the planned restructuring of our basic education program into six years of grade school and six years of high school. By schoolyear 2016-17, the Ateneo High School will then be composed of four years of junior high school (grades 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (grades 11 to 12).

Moreover, in school year 2016-2017, Ateneo de Manila will begin a senior high school that will be open to the incoming Ateneo grade 11 boys, plus 300 more students from other schools outside the Ateneo High School. The 300 additional new entrants, both boys and girls, will be chosen from public, parochial and select private schools all over the country. In view of our desire to provide quality education and leadership formation for those coming mainly from the public school system, 100 scholarship grants will be offered in the Senior High School to academically gifted but financially challenged students.

Application requirements and other information will be announced in due time and posted on the Ateneo website ( 

The co-ed nature of the Senior High School is part of preparation for college. I would like to assure the community, including our alumni, that the Ateneo Grade School and the Junior High School remain to be exclusive schools for boys.

Let us continue to pray to God for the grace of openness and courage as we make these crossings in our shared vocation to form our youth, the future of our nation and of the world.

ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Jose Ramon T Villarin SJ


Click “Continue Reading” for the pros and cons of a coed school. 


According to single-sex education proponents, members of the opposite sex may distract each other from focusing on their school work.

Pros and Cons of a coed school

As parents, regardless of your child’s school level, we do our best to ensure that they get the best education possible. We scour one school after another, talking to potential teachers, checking out their facilities and asking a hundred or more questions about their curriculum. Which may get you thinking, would it be better for my child to enroll in a single-sex or coed school?

There are several arguments that support one option over the other. Nevertheless, it is important that parents know the arguments of both sides so that it may help in your making a sound decision for your child.

According to proponents for single-sex education, not enrolling your child in a co-ed school is the better choice because,

  • At certain ages, members of the opposite sex can be a distraction. Without their presence, students are more focused on their schoolwork.
  • Single-sex education betters a student’s chance for academic success as teachers use techniques geared towards the gender of their students,
  • According to, “advocates claim co-ed schools tend to reinforce gender stereotypes, while single-sex schools can break down gender stereotypes. For example, girls are free of the pressure to compete with boys in male-dominated subjects such as math and science. Boys, on the other hand, can more easily pursue traditionally “feminine” interests such as music and poetry.”
  • Single-sex education allows students to freely express themselves without the feeling embaraased in front of members of the opposite sex. encourages children to take risks in expressing themselves as they learn without the fear of embarrassing themselves in front of the opposite sex.

On the other hand, others believe that coed education is better because,

  • As opposed to generalizing and teaching students in accordance to their gender, teachers can attend to individual learning needs,
  • Coed schools provide opportunities for girls and boys to interact together meaningfully as they learn. Boys and girls learn to respect one another and cooperate as equals and because,
  • Coed schools can offer both boys and girls a more extensive range of extracurricular activities where they can either participate separately or together (e.g. athletics, theater, music, clubs).

Click “Continue reading” for tips on choosing between a coed and single-sex academic institution and for what Filipino netizens have to say about Ateneo’s announcement. 


Choosing between a coed and a single-sex school

According to Leonard Sax, MD, PhD, a psychologist and family physician, “Most single-sex education advocates don’t believe that single-sex education is best for every child.” He goes on to say, “There is a great variation among girls and a great variation among boys and for that reason, choice is a good thing… One size does not fit all.”

“Effective teaching,” says Florida State University psychology professor Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, “often depends on getting children engaged and excited about learning the material and for that, each teacher has to work with each child’s motivations, interests and preferences.”

So when deciding which school to put your child in, while input from other parents are appreciated, you have to decide what is best for your child. This means knowing their learning style, gauging their social skills and asking them themselves which environment they prefer.

The goal is to place your child in an environment where he or she is encouraged to learn while developing proper friendships. Whether this occurs in a coed or single-sex institution doesn’t really matter as long as they grow up to be educated and well-rounded.

Parents speak up!

See what Filipino parents have to say about Ateneo going coed:

  • This mom feels weirded out about the change:
  • This dad and famous chef is simply floored:
  • This mom and journalist keeps it practical:

What do you think about Ateneo de Manila High School becoming a coed school? Do share your thoughts in our Comment box below. 

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