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If you attended the average Nigerian boarding school in the 80’s, you would agree that a lot has changed when compared to this generation and probably, not as harsh. For me, learning away from my parents marked the beginning of the formative years of my life. Most days I was quite glad to be away from home but occasionally, wished I wasn’t far off. I can vividly recall the effect of particular incidents on my self-esteem and at times, wished for an affluent background. I wondered why some girls were given hobnobs and unlike me, cabin biscuit, and when I’d spend summer holidays in places other than my father’s house.

For this reason, some would presume this secondary institution to be more than an establishment where students are provided with meals, life and study during the school term. It’s a school of hard knocks where one may be unable to understand why the five fingers are unequal and therefore, tempted to take what belongs to others. It’s the preparatory boot camp where one learns to wake up by 5.30am, bath, attend to designated ‘morning duty’ before having breakfast, then settle in for the day’s lessons. Over time, you become accustomed to this way of life as it does pay off in one way or the other.

On the other hand, it would seem this mode of education might be unsuitable for some children as they need to have acquired some level of independence and strength of will. Furthermore, the school permits little intervention from parents, except when necessary. At the onset, the child is without foreknowledge and may require the guidance of his or her parents. Moreover, as they would spend more time in school, they tend to imitate the values and lifestyle of their peers, which could either make or break the child. Hence, the reason why parents should lay the necessary foundation if they intend enrolling their kids in a boarding house. These are five things a boarding school wouldn’t teach our children.

1. MORAL EDUCATION Character or moral education is equally as important as formal education but is one of the core responsibilities of parenting. We would need to consistently teach, support and help our children develop those virtues or habits that will enable them to live good, responsible, productive and purpose driven lives within the society. They are more or less, products of their upbringing and not necessarily, as a result of an outstanding secondary school.

2. ETIQUETTE Etiquette is another crucial tool in raising responsible young adults. Whether young or old, it calls for the adherence to the customary code of polite behaviour in the society. Basic and good manners in expressing polite, respectful or considerate acts are easier to instil while children are at home. Within the four corners of the school, these life skills would be tested by kids from other backgrounds. Though, the private schools may attract a peculiar class of individuals whose character is supposably less appalling. But remember, they too are not perfect and could come with their unique baggage.

3. CONTENTMENT Now this is one area where conscious effort is required to make life worthwhile, and if left for the child to tackle, it could stir up ingratitude. Regardless of the type of boarding house, there will always be the peculiar group of individuals who seem to have everything. So, it’s important that they learn to appreciate whatever their parents can provide and not attribute happiness to material possessions.

4. SELF CONFIDENCE Their confidence will be trialled by various experiences and sometimes, at no fault of theirs. Although the value of counsellors or pastoral care cannot be overlooked, yet children flourish better with the wise words, support and unconditional love of parents continuously reassuring them that they are capable of accomplishing great things.

5. PERSONAL HYGIENE Finally and with no beating about the bush, children must be taught how to care for their bodies as the school wouldn’t cater for much improvement. Also, they shouldn’t hesitate to report any awkward bodily development to the sick bay or frightened of informing the authorities about any form of abuse because listening to peers could be detrimental.

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This article was first published on 10th November 2016


Ngozika is an ardent writer with a knack for composing heartfelt articles. A master's degree holder in Housing Management and Policy from the University of Greenwich, England. But above all, a joyful wife and miraculously, sane mother of two brilliant boys. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @obi77ng

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