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A boarding school is a school where the students and teachers live together in a safe environment where accommodation and meals are provided. Well behaved and godly teachers serve as house masters and mistresses. Mature students especially those in final classes and prefects also assist house masters & house mistresses, patrons and matrons act as guardians who monitor the activities of students. Parents entrust the safety and welfare of their wards to these guardians. Pupils and students are referred to as ‘boarders’. They go to their various homes during holidays, mid-terms breaks and vacations. Some schools are strictly for boarders while some allow day students too. Here, students comprise both boarders and day students. Good education, secure environment, social amenities and other factors that enhance education are provided for boarders. Many people believe that boarding schools are meant for rich children and those with financial stability. This is not true because some boarders are from poor or average backgrounds that are either sponsored by the governments or philanthropists. Boarding school is for all.
Boarding schools are also known as ‘prep schools’. They have buildings erected for accommodation which may be close to the academic area or within the academic surroundings. Hostels are referred to as “dormitories” or “dorms”. Bunks are provided for the students with the senior colleagues on lower bunks and juniors in upper bunks. Provisions, cutleries, wares and beddings such as mattresses, bed sheets, pillows and pillowcases are provided by the students. Some equipment that could endanger the lives of the students are prohibited. Common rooms for relaxation, watching of television are available in boarding schools. Hall or halls for morning devotions, assemblies, meetings, for religious activities are also available in boarding schools.
The health of the students are taken into consideration by the school authorities. Meals cooked by professionals and in a neat environment are provided. shops where snacks, drinks and additional meals are sold are provided by the school. Sick bays and medical practitioners are adequately present to maintain the health of the students. The activities of students are in a routine. Sports of different kinds are carried out by students to make them fit. Social curriculum activities like the Boy’s Scout, Boy’s Brigade and other voluntary organizations like the Red Cross are encouraged. This helps the students to have a sense of patriotism. Reading time is also scheduled and it is conformed to under strict supervision.
There are different types of boarding school. There are boarding schools for nursery school children and secondary school children. Students could board either permanently or temporarily. It is permanent when children only go home during breaks or end of terms or sessions while student who board in school in preparation for examination or when their parents are not around are temporal boarders. They go home on the completion of their exams or when parents are around. We have military or command, all-boys and all-girls, mixed, religious (missionary / Muslim schools aim at the spiritual growth of students) boarding schools. There are boarding schools for students with vocation skills or talents. Such schools are known as ‘Technical Schools’. There are also boarding schools for the physical challenged, known as, ‘Special Schools’ where the structures, infrastructures, learning materials and activities are special designed for the convenience and academic performance of the students.
Many children are enrolled in boarding schools for them to be disciplined. Routine activities, laws and regulations are to be followed in boarding schools. Thus, students have a sense of responsibility and are disciplined if they do otherwise. They are punctual to wake up, to attend meetings and assembly, dining halls, classrooms and other extra curriculum activities. Much attention is given equally to each student by the teachers. Students are taught to take care of themselves and their needs. Teachers have a close relationship with the students which can affect their academic success.
Social interaction is being developed by students. Students meet others from different backgrounds, culture and behaviour. This is also enhanced by extra curriculum activities. Meeting people develop a child’s social life. New discoveries about self and others are made. There is influx of culture, new things are learnt, old or bad ways of behaviour can be changed or influence with the good ones around. Engagement of students with sports improves their fitness. The overall development of the child is taken into consideration in boarding schools. The social lives of students are developed such as eating etiquette, dress code, neatness and so on.
Boarding schools shield children from any form of external factors and distractions. Children that are from broken homes and families with issues are protected from witnessing the imperfections in their homes. Qualified teachers are employed in boarding schools and they give the children the best. The academic performances of boarders are better than their counterparts in that learning and education is central, good and qualified teachers are available, good and conducive learning environment is not left out. Their reading habits, skills and talents are closely monitored and developed. Boarders turn out to be independent, disciplined, and confident and with great esteem.
There are some disadvantages associated with boarding schools despite the advantages. Boarders lack parental warmth, love and affection. Since they spend less time at home, they do not have the feelings of having parents and can feel abandoned by parents. Parent-child relationship is weak and the children tend to be strangers at home. Parents are sometimes naive about who their child(ren) are, their hobbies, friends likes and dislikes. They may be rude to parents and people around. Some become too independent by taking decisions without parental influence or care.
Students in boarding schools tend to be wayward than day students. They sometimes sneak out of schools to engage in all sorts of ungodly activities. Some smuggle in contrabands, attend parties, and engage in odd sexual activities such as lesbianism and homosexuality. Students are bullied by others and senior colleagues. This may result to psychological stress and trauma. Constant bullying and not having a confidant can be harmful to students. Boarding schools are built most time in the outskirts of towns and cities which may be dangerous for the safety of the children. They might be kidnapped, raped or burgled by armed robbers. An instance is the abduction of Chibok Girls.
Parents are advised to make necessary steps when choosing boarding schools for their wards. The environment, safety and the academic performance of the school should be taken into consideration. Parents with busy lifestyles are encouraged to enroll their children in boarding schools instead of neglecting them. Parents should also make frequent visitation to their children’s school for proper monitoring and to ensure a good parent-child relationship. The house should be friendly for the students anytime they are at home for vacations.