The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Debating co-ed classes: The Case of Saudi Female ESL Students at Root Hall

Eman AlJuhani, Royal Commission in Yanbu, Colleges and Institutes (Saudi Arabia)


While most of the countries are attempting to improve their educational systems to meet the necessities and characteristics of an era that is characterized by globalization and mass communication, Saudi Arabia is taking a big leap towards major transformation in all fields including education under the vision of 2030. One of the biggest challenges were changing the state of being caught up with whether to reinforce or get rid of gender-segregation into women empowerment. In other words, whoever qualified will take the lead in any project regardless of the gender. However, the idea of having females students in leadership position is novel to the society as classrooms are still single gendered. Saudi female students’ first experience with co-education is usually within undergraduate level in medical majors or during scholarship outside the borders of Saudi Arabia. Recent research has shown that there is an immense pressure from reformers and intellectuals who not only want to change the content of the curriculum, the way by which it is taught, but also reinforcing coeducation. Krieger (2007) asserts that, “The university, hopes to eventually enroll 2,000 graduate students, will be the first coeducational higher-education university in the country” (Krieger, 2007, p. 3). It is believed that by improving the ESL methods in higher education, which reinforces coeducation, would better the educational system and prepare female and male graduates who will be able to compete with their global peers. However, up to now, there has not been any investigation that unveils the correlation of the language proficiency among Saudi ESL female students and the implementation of a coeducational system in the Saudi universities. This study has investigated three Saudi ESL students who are taking their English classes at Root hall, ISU and their perceptions towards mixed gender classroom and its impact on their English language development. The results showed that co-education has built their confidence to communicate, negotiate with their peers of opposite gender; hence, their English language proficiency.

Keywords: Co-education – ESL  

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[3] Hamdan, A. (2005). Women and education in Saudi Arabia: Challenges and achievements. International Education Journal, 6(1), 42-64.
[4] Herrick, L. (2009). Same-sex schooling versus co-educational schooling
and their effects on achievement, assessment and gender bias. (Unpublished master thesis). The Evergreen State College, Olympia.
[5] Jackson, C. (2002). Can single-sex classes in co-educational schools enhance the learning experiences of girls and/or boys? British Educational Research Journal, 28(1), 37-49.

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