Searching for a boarding school? Many parents face this conundrum. There have been arguments and counterarguments as to the morality/justification for enrolling a child in a boarding school or not. The truth is that there are pluses and there are minuses. The ultimate decision of sending your child to a boarding school rests with you. But to help you make an informed decision, here's a consideration of the good, the bad and the ugly about boarding school:
1. Less Distractions
A well-regimented life as obtainable in boarding schools ensures that students don't get carried away by frivolities. Since the use of television, phones and other gadgets are regulated in boarding schools, the students there are more likely to focus better on their academics. The environment engenders better learning experiences for the students.
2. Cultural Integration
Children from varying cultures are brought together in a boarding school; living together for at least three years. This affords them ample opportunity to understand the nuances of these cultures, thus, when they eventually get into the society as adults, they can function better when mingling with those of other orientations.
3. Multi-linguistic Advantage
Another aspect of how boarding school impacts positively on culture is the integration of several languages. A lot of boarding students actually move to new areas for their education and, by default, they get acquainted with the local languages different from theirs. In this mix of different cultures, the boarding school students are exposed to the languages of several regions and with a little more training, these students become proficiently multilingual - this is an advantage for them in both local and international settings.
4. Extra Curricular
Education involves more than classroom activities. For a student to function properly, a balanced blend of academic and extra classroom affairs is required. Boarding school students are systematically and consistently trained on a variety of activities which expand their academic-cum-social worldview.
ALSO READ: 4 REASONS TO STUDY ABROAD
5. Personal Development
Because boarding school students are "on their own", they learn to cater for themselves with regards to their surroundings and academics. Such things as their domestic chores and school work are attended to by each student. This training teaches them self reliance and the importance of managing time and resources wisely; exactly what they need to be successful when they eventually get into higher institution.
1. Bureaucratic Shenanigans
Sometimes, the already established structures in boarding schools limit the students. Students have to follow through on whatever the school says is correct. For instance, a student who has a talent base not promoted in the school might just lose out on that talent because he'll have no training to harness it since the school doesn't make provision for it. He'll have to go along with the provisions available in the school.
2. Estranged Family Relationship
There have been situations whereby the children sent to boarding schools come back as strangers to their family. The family bonds are strained due to the repeated long periods of being away from family. This is especially so with children sent off to boarding school at a very tender age - below 10 years.
3. You'll Miss Them
Yes! No matter how much some parents try to make it look otherwise, they definitely miss their children. Besides physically missing their kids, parents who send their kids to boarding schools actually miss out on the lives of their children; their preteen and teenage years which constitute a core period when parental attention shapes their growing up into adulthood.
We can't deny the fact that children have feelings too. They miss their family, especially when they find it difficult to blend into the school environment. An inherent danger here is that because these students really miss home and are in dire need of company, when they eventually get any attention from schoolmates that constitute bad associates, they get easily influenced for the worst in order to be accepted by their peers.
5. Moral Rectitude
The environment in boarding schools is one of uncertainty. Parents cannot control what happens while their children are away at school for a whole term. The experiences, attitudes and lifestyles of other kids will definitely rob off on your children and you won't be there to help readjust your child if such influences are unwholesome. Such obnoxious influence will definitely adversely affect your child in his future as an adult.
Again, talking about the environment in boarding schools, bullying reigns rampant. In fact, this seems like an institutionalized phenomenon in boarding schools. Those who passed through the system have 'regaled' us with the gory bullying perpetrated by seniors on junior students in the name of instilling discipline.
Choosing a school for your child is by far one of the most important decisions you will make for him/her. The ugly reality is that you still have a decision to make, which can either make or mar that child academically and otherwise. But I believe a careful consideration of the factors discussed here can serve as a guide for you.
We'd like to hear from you. Please, use the comment section to let us know what you'd decide and why.
Imoh Iniekpo Udoh