So, You Want to Send Your Child to a Boarding School? Ask these Child Protection-focused Questions(1)

Few sessions away, I discussed facts to consider before you register your child in a school. I think the tools shared therein also apply to the issue of sending your child to a boarding school.

Recently, a lady sent me a message asking for my opinion about sending his eight-year old daughter to a boarding school. I responded by saying that it was a question very difficult for me to answer. I said that before I could answer the question, I wanted to know why she wanted to send the child to boarding school in the first instance. She did not respond to my question and therefore I couldn’t advise her. I wouldn’t know if my question set her thinking and she had to rethink her position.

I think the first question before sending our children to a boarding school is not to the school. It is to the sending authority, that is parents/guardians and it is very simple: why do you want to send your child to a boarding school? The response to this question is not as simple as the question itself. In fact, except it is approach by the respondent with conscience and sincerity, the question is not likely to be answered in the best interest of the child and this jeopardizes the protection of the child.

I believe that it may be difficult to answer this question without first defining what a boarding school is and the origin of same. Wikipedia submits, Boarding school is a school where some or all people study and live during the school year with their fellow students and possibly teachers and/or administrators. The word ‘boarding’ is used in the sense of “bed and board,” i.e., lodging and meals.On the origin, it reveals, The practice of sending children to other families or to schools so that they could learn together is of very long standing, recorded in classical literature and in UK records going back over a thousand years. In Europe, a practice developed by early mediaeval times of sending boys to be taught by literate clergymen, either in monasteries or as pages in great households.’

The origin tells us that sending a child to a school or household was inevitable at the time it was conceived as it was not a formal arrangement. It was more of sending the children to learn most particularly by observing ‘great households’ and ‘literate clergymen’ (teachers) and the great principles the parents of the children admired in the ‘great households’ and ‘literate clergymen.’ Two things stood out: inevitability and credibility of the values to be imbibed by the child. The parents could vouch for the institutions they sent their children to.

Does the foregoing agree with the reason we send our children to boarding school these days? Is boarding school inevitable for all the children who are sent there? I think not. I think while, it might be inevitable for some, it may not be for many. Some parents may want to send their children to school abroad and it is inevitable for them to be boarders. Likewise some may live abroad and they want their children to school in their own country and there are not relatives available or trusted enough to keep the children with. Therefore boarding school becomes inevitable. This may also pass for children, whose parents live out of the town where the boarding school is located. It is however important to state that the protection of the child should be paramount in deciding a boarding school to send a child to. Protection here refers to all-round protection from all forms of abuse. Protection also includes preservation of values, which are cardinal and dear to the parents/guardians of the child.

In my experience with parents, particularly in Nigeria, I have come to discover that most people send their children to boarding schools not because it is inevitable but because it is convenient. When convenience becomes the cardinal instigator of why we send our children to boarding school, then we sacrifice our values and the child protection. Convenience has no respect for thoroughness and sacrifice. The only motivation is to do away with a disturbing burden and move on. How the burden is done away with is not as important to the one who seek convenience as to the idea of doing away with the burden.

I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.

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