Ending the decades long tradition, a 138-year-old school, started here by freedom fighters including Bal Gangadhar Tilak, is all set to open its doors for girls from the upcoming academic session. The decision to this effect has been taken by the school management to break the gender stereotypes, its principal said. The New English School was started by Tilak along with social reformers like Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and Vishnushastri Chiplunkar in 1880. The institution, run by the Deccan Education Society, had the co-education system till 1936. However, the education society then started another institution – Ahilyadevi High School – exclusively for girls in the city. Gone are the days when boys and girls were taught in different schools, said Nagesh Mone, who recently took over as the schools principal. While growing up, the students should know that men and women are equal and in order to break the gender stereotypes, it is important to start co-education at the early stage of schooling so that a holistic and gender-neutral atmosphere can be created, he said. He said it has been observed that mutual respect, interaction and healthy competition is high among students in the co-ed system. The students interact cautiously when they are together in co-ed schools. Some sort of power balance always works in the background, and it is also needed to enhance the overall quality of the education, Mone said. So far, 25 girls have taken admissions for the next academic year, he said. The school management is hopeful that male students will adopt to the change positively and that the co-ed system would enhance the overall quality and standard of education in the institution.