No Western country would do it, but China dares challenge one of the taboos of our modern age: Gender-separated classes.
Beijing recently saw the start of an experimental project with boys-only classes. 272 male students have applied for 60 places in two classes, which will open this fall.
The reason for this experiment is that boys are lagging behind in mixed-sex classes. But the boys-only classes will also “cultivate masculinity” in another way than is possible in traditional classes.
The principal of the school defends the project with these words:
“Some parents are more open-minded about the boys-only classes, and they would like to send their children to study here, where hopefully they can better develop boys’ advantages.”
Note that 50 years ago, people advocating same-sex classes were the ones considered “open-minded”. Now it’s indeed open-minded, not to say daring, to even suggest gender-separated classes.
All the more interesting. Boys are lagging behind in schools in the whole Western world, and apparently also in China. They get lower grades and are less likely to advance to higher education. This is a development that has become evident only in recent decades, and we can therefore not know the consequences yet, since these boys still haven’t grown up.
However, we can guess at the consequences.
It’s not very hard to come to the conclusion that a society with poorly educated men is possibly a dangerous society.
The fact that China takes the first steps to experiment with boys-only classes at the same time that the whole Western world would condemn such practice might say something about what we can expect from our respective societies in the future.
PS: Comments are welcome!
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