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Opinion

Should I send my child to boarding school ?

Hussein Al-Bahir
Dialectician

In essence, a boarding school is an educational facility where students live and study on campus instead of going back home after daytime classes. At first glance, it might not appear significantly different from an ordinary school, however, in practice the distinction is quite tangible.

There might be many reasons why you would want to send your child to boarding school. Maybe you seek a stricter environment for supervising your child, a better level of education, a more balanced diet for your child etc. Clearly all of these factors are school-specific and none are universally applicable to a boarding school in particular.

Nevertheless, as a general rule, because the students actually live on campus and spend most of their day with teachers and other pupils, there is a more rigid level of discipline. On the contrary, in a regular school most teachers finish their working day and ignore their pupils’ activities outside class, leaving that up to the parents.

If you decided to send your child to boarding school, you must consider that your control on the instruction they will receive will be channelled down to the minimum. They will learn almost exclusively from the environment provided by the school.

The main question arising from this is what learning environment would be optimal for my child at their current stage of development?

The answer may strongly depend on age. Starting from a young age, certain life skills and family wisdom may only be passed down from parent to child. With time, however, other skills can prove to be more difficult to acquire in the presence of parents, namely autonomy and responsibility.

Studying and living away from parents is a whole new experience for a child. Certainly, boarding school is incomparable to university or work in the sense that a tight schedule is usually imposed. Your child will probably have little choice in the organisation of their own time.

In the future, however, when they continue their education or take up a job, facing the circumstances of the real world is inevitable and boarding school can be a great segue into this journey.

From personal experience, when I first went to university, I had already spent two years in a boarding school and knew what it was like living away from my parents. On the contrary, many other students whom I had seen acted as though if they had just escaped from a cage. For the most, these weren’t Muslims. Nevertheless these were people who didn’t have the life skills to cope with the milieu they were plunged in.

Many adults, when we have already grown up, forget about how important and onerous the transition to adulthood really was. In fact, many of us are still only adults by status without a certain level of responsibility.

Though boarding school isn’t for everybody, it can provide an environment which can help your child better adapt to the upcoming difficulties in life in a more natural environment and without the guidance of parents which, for some, is absolutely necessary

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