Is Boarding School Good for Children or Not, What are the Effects?

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Courage and independence is not something you can ever learn from a book.
It is learnt through experience, however what is the right time to go out into the world and actually interact with it in order to gain experience? n

This is a question that burns my cerebral cortex each day.

I’m a newly qualified teacher and my first experience with teaching pupils was in a Formal Model C Boarding School, one of the three models in the South African education system and there comes the question, why do parents actually send their children to boarding schools?

Imagine a place where your child is stuck in a room with 5 or 6 other children who may or may not be of the same age, background or even share the same interests as them.
A place where very few bathrooms are shared by over 40 children due to the heavy congestion in these schools.

Where they eat whatever is available or are forced to eat bread even if they don’t normally do so dues to allergies or some other conditions.
How do parents even know for sure that they are continuously taking homework seriously, just because they are given the time to and somebody is watching over them?

It is believed, by most parents, that boarding schools are a place for children with discipline issues, or children who suffer from behavioral problems and since parents can’t seem to take care of it, they believe that boarding schools are a place to fix them but you cannot fix your child as they are not broken in the first place.

You cannot fix your child as they are not broken in the first place Click To Tweet

“When I was at home, I would come home late and I would not do my work,” said Sbusiso when he was asked why he was sent to the boarding school. This leads to the conclusion that some children also think that boarding schools are also a good idea and its purpose is a place to treat behavioral problems in them (the kids).

Answering the burning question, ‘why do parents send their children to boarding schools?’ Parents and children associates everything white with quality.
When speaking to Sbusiso* he commented that he would recommend someone to go to a white boarding school because it’s expensive and they offer quality education only if it’s a white boarding school.

Himself and Ntokozo, a fellow boarder believes that coming to boarding helped them with discipline. So they think they have an understanding as to why their parents brought them to boarding schools in the first place.

There’s a difference between discipline and conditioning, discipline is a step taken upon punishing your child because they did something wrong.

It is believed, by most parents, that boarding schools are a place for children with discipline issues.

Conditioning, however is the removal of a positive reinforcement to obtain a desired behavior, or the administration of a negative reinforcement to alter behaviors.
With conditioning, a child is trained to behave a certain way, they are punished for doing something wrong.

Some other parents send their children to boarding school because they assert to be busy and cannot take care of them, but if a parent can afford to pay for boarding school fees (which is usually high)

Could they not afford to hire a stay-at-home nanny to help look after the children when they are not around? That would aid in the development of the child since they will be at home, not sharing a room with 5 or 6 other children.

Taking your child to a boarding school is like paying someone else to do your work as a parent, being a parent comes with the responsibility of taking care of the child.

Understandably so, some parents are working to support their family and children but it is still better to hire a nanny than to send them to a boarding school.

Being a parent comes with the responsibility of taking care of the child.

Children, especially teenagers go through the most during puberty.

This is a stage where they need their parents the most, but if the parent is not always there it may lead to depression and as in this case, are being pushed away to learn at some faraway institution, shows their unapproved more.

They may feel unloved, unwanted.
Lulu* commented that she hates her parents for sending her to boarding school because now she is forced to make it on her own.
These feelings may lead to much more behavioral problems where a child starts to misbehave to get attention from outside because they can’t seem to get it at home from their loved ones; their parents.

On privacy, teenagers also like their privacy and that is not in any instance achieved in a room shared with 5 other children at a dormitory.

While boarding schools may be good for independence, they only teach children to live without seeing their parents every day.
Independence is the ability to live freely without boundaries, since parents still pays and there is someone who ensures that they wake up each morning, go to eat at a certain time, follow through set laws in the educational community – that is not independence or is it?

Boarding school may provide an opportunity or platform for children to meet new people, participate in sport, “study”.
It still doesn’t ’t offer a safe emotional environment.

Before sending your child out to the world please ensure that they are emotionally and mentally stable.
It requires a lot from a child to make it in a place where the parent is out of sight.

About the author:

Thembi Ntahane is a South-African educator, writer and poet who is passionate about bringing about a better reform to the African educational system and sector through her educative methods.

She lives in Mmpumalanga South Africa from whence she writes.

You can reach her via Facebook

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