Boarding schools are becoming increasingly popular. Justin Tee examines the various boarding options and the benefits of boarding.
Traditionally, boarding school was a luxury that only wealthy families could afford as it involved sending children overseas to pursue their studies. Today, as a result of the evolving international education segment in Malaysia, student boarding options have become not only plentiful, but also developed in terms of facilities and standards.
It was during the era of British colonial expansion that the British boarding school became the entity it is today. British families posted abroad would put their children in boarding school to ensure the continuity of their education and to keep them within a British cultural setting.
Many people believe that the only advantage of boarding is that it eliminates the need to travel to school thus saving time that can be better spent studying. In reality, there are various benefits of boarding for a child. The experience of living and interacting with peers of various nationalities, and learning to live independently at a young age serve as a catalyst for personal growth. In addition, a child would learn the value of mutual respect and teamwork, as well as the importance of taking pride in being part of a close-knit community. Forming bonds at a young age is something that is likely to have a lifelong effect on an individual's personal growth.
Boarding brings about a situation of immersion learning in that the child is functioning in an educational environment at all times. As such, he has unlimited access to facilities, and exposure to pastoral mentoring, which can deepen and widen his interests. Just imagine! After classes, a child would not have to spend time traveling back home, but has available to him round-the-clock access to sports facilities, computer labs, art supplies and everything else the school has to offer.
Boarding in Malaysia
There are three main boarding options in general: full boarding, weekly boarding and flexible boarding. Full-time boarding means that the child stays in school seven days a week. In comparison, weekly boarding translates into a five-day boarding week, with the child going home every weekend. The third option is flexi-boarding, which allows the child to board one or several nights a week, depending on his or her preference. Over the past decade or so, there has been an increase in the number of schools offering boarding facilities in Malaysia, especially in Penang, Johor and the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Each school has a different boarding policy so it is advisable to check with the admissions department to find out what it offers.
Is Boarding for Your Child?
As with every major decision, choosing to send your child to a boarding school is not an easy one. There are several factors that you will need to take into account. First, you have to consider your child's personality and needs. Age is another important factor, and the younger they are, the harder it is for parents and children to cope. However, most children do eventually adapt and reap the full benefits of boarding! If you are still unsure about sending your child to a boarding school even after talking to family, friends and school representatives, subject to the school's boarding policy, you may want to try flexi or weekly boarding first. This will allow your child to ease into the process and give you enough time to assess the suitability of boarding for your child.
Make sure to check out our School Finder to find out which schools offer boarding!
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