THERE are different reasons why many parents prefer to have their children in boarding schools instead of day schools. For the uninitiated, a boarding school is one that offers the students accommodation and meals for the entire course of the school term.
Unlike the day schools where students return home after each day, in boarding schools, the student only returns home at the end of the school term. That is the principle that governs boarding schools. Unfortunately this principle is so clear in some schools or with some school authorities.
On the part of the students, anyone who has ever been in a boarding school can testify that getting permission to leave the school is always one of the best things. For this reason, students often strive to exploit any loophole that can see them leaving school even for a few hours.
This stems from the fact that many students consider the boarding school to be some kind of ‘prison’ and any chance to get out should be pursued vigorously.
When I was still a student, I joined the drama club and even started playing rugby (despite my small body frame) simply because this would give me chances of leaving the school once in a while.
There are several reasons that a student can come up with in order to get permission to leave the school. Some of the reasons may be genuine but others may not. Students will fake illness, and others will even tell you of family problems that do not exist just because they want to leave school.
It is the duty of the school authorities to devise mechanisms of ensuring that students who approach them seeking permission are indeed heading home and not trying to execute any mischief.
Teachers need to keep in mind the fact that a parent who sends his child to a boarding school is comfortable without seeing the child at home for a period of three months. If the parent really needs to see their child then they can always visit the child at school not the other way round.
That said, permission should never be granted on flimsy grounds. Parents whose children are sickly must make this known to the school authorities. This helps the school to know whether a particular student needs permission to go for regular medical check ups or even treatment.
The role of granting permission should also be very clearly defined. Who gives this permission, when and were should be clearly known to the students. Absence of a clear permission granting system often results in confusion.
More importantly, school authorities have to be very careful concerning students who ask for permission at the end of the week. Some of them are simply trying to find a way to link up with their friends, sugar daddies or sugar mummies for some weekend pleasures. Tricks like delaying the permission by some days can help to trap such characters.
Once permission has been granted, a student should not be allowed to leave the school if not wearing school uniform. Once in uniform, a student is compelled to behave well outside the school.
The permission should clearly specify when the student should return to the school and once he returns, he must report to the authorities so that its clear whether he is in the school or not.
A boarding school is not a prison but then again it is not a park where people can walk in and walk out just like that. A student in such a school should sit and concentrate instead of always moving between home and school almost on a weekly basis.
Any student who is not patient with the way a boarding school operates should relocate to a day school as soon as possible. In the same vein, any student who leaves school without permission or one who misuses the permission granted should be punished according to what the school rules stipulate.