The decision to ban boarding schools for children in Grade One to Nine – and junior secondary school – comes at a time when the government is grappling with the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).
Inasmuch as changes to our education system are overdue, the advantages of having boarding primary schools arguably outweigh the disadvantages.
One, parents have a right to choose whether to take their children to a boarding or day school.
In a multi-ethnic society such as Kenya’s, children, teachers and workers from various ethnic backgrounds coalesce in these schools to foster national unity.
The ban may end up promoting ‘localisation’ of our children, teachers and other workers .
Two, boarding schools teach children to be responsible people who can confront life challenges away from their parents and guardians and minimise the risks of commuting to and from school.
Boarding-school students have ample time to study and play in an environment that suits the lifestyles of parents who are frequently transferred from one workstation to another.
These schools have also contributed immensely to the creation of non-teaching jobs, besides providing better homes for children whose parents separated or died or are away for one reason or another.
Times have changed and mothers have to work to contribute to the financial needs of the family. I would rather have my children in school under some rules and under the watch of a matron or teacher than a mixed-age crowd in the estates. Abolishing boarding schools will not necessarily instil discipline in these children.
So, what happens to the boarding facilities in these schools? Let us be careful not to cascade what is currently happening at the universities, where hostels have no occupants.
The ban will make school transport very expensive due to high demand, not to mention the risks involved in those buses. The government should, therefore, rethink this policy decision.
Dr Murwayi is a lecturer at Chuka University; [email protected]