MANY single sex schools in Hong Kong have acquired a high reputation, with their strong traditions and accomplished graduates, and yet secondary students who take a realistic view say that co-educational schools may have more to offer. Raymond Hung Man-wo has been going to a boys' school for six years, and like many of his peers, the fifth-former feels shy to talk 'one-to-one' with a girl, and rarely does. 'Co-educated boys seem to know girls better, co-educated students seem more mature,' said the 20-year-old student of Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Technical School. In Raymond's view, a co-educational environment yields a wider range of ideas and opinions from both males and females, which make discussions more productive. 'Girls can give alternative ideas that boys never think of,' Raymond said. 'I do believe women can play men's roles in society.' However, Lee Chun-man, 17, who was co-educated since primary school, believes that single sex schools are more 'innocent'. 'My friends who go to co-ed schools are so conscious about their appearance and ways, and are often entangled in male-female relationships,' he said. Chun-man is a sixth-former at Sing Yin Secondary, a boys' school. Although he prefers single sex schools, he agrees that co-education is more realistic. Anna Koo Kar-chun, a sixth-former at St Paul's Secondary, has been going to a girls' school for 14 years. 'Most of my friends are female. I usually go out only with the girls,' Anna said. When she meets boys it is only at joint school activities. She believes that girls who grow up in single sex schools are usually embarrassed when they meet boys. 'I think girls from co-ed schools act more naturally when dealing with boys,' she said. Anna thinks boys react more quickly and have more ideas, while girls are more detail-oriented. However, she believe girls and boys have equal ability. Co-educated Yip Po-lam, 16, says boys have more potential than girls, while girls enjoy fewer advantages. 'Boys usually get better grades, although most girls are hard-working. Boys seem smarter!' said the fifth-former of SKH Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary. Po-lam, who studies science, feels that boys are more analytical and objective, but girls are more understanding and sympathetic. Both Anna and Po-lam agree that a co-educational environment can reflect the diversified character of society. Au Pak-kuen, vice-president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, is optimistic about the co-educational study environment. 'I have seen many girls get better grades than boys in mathematics at the HKCEE. Sometimes males and females studying side by side makes for healthy competition,' she said.