There is no good reason why we should continue condemning innocent children to the insular world of boarding schools. And, for the record, I am not writing this from an ivory tower. Of the 16 years in the 8.4.4 system, I’ve been a boarder for the first 12.
I was barely seven years when I saw my dad walk out of the school gate, leaving me amongst strangers at a time when I was a stranger even to myself. The feeling of abandonment has stuck with me ever since. In this, I know I’m not alone.
Are boarding schools worth it? The separation from parents, the money paid and exclusion from society? Are boarding schools overrated?
Four things are worth remarking about boarding schools. One, a majority (if not all) offer an environment fraught with emotional, academic and social pressure. Expecting children under 13 to know how to respond to pressure is expecting something greater than a miracle.
At this vulnerable age, what children need most is an emotionally meaningful relationship, not pressure. And only parents can offer that. Teachers, however dedicated, cannot provide emotional satisfaction to every kid in the class.
If kids are to grow into healthy adults, they have to be brought up in a family, which is the microcosm of the society. Remember it takes a village, not a boarding school, to raise a child.
Is this from the UK? No, it’s Kenya…