In my first 3 decades as a teacher, I was often asked what would I recommend to a parent"a Boarding School or a Day School?"
Over the next two decades experiencing Day Schools I feel I can answer this question with confidence.
The changing times along with technology have brought a tremendous change in students lives. TV, Movies, and mobile phones play a very descriptive role in the life of a day student. Where does a Day School lose out on?
Day in and day out most Day students spend time in commuting, texting, watching TV, Movies and partying. When you add all this time spent it comes to 3 to 4 hours a day. Which means that a "Boarder" in a School is ahead by 3 to 4 hours a day. It eventually comes down to time management.
A "Boarders" time is managed by the School from the time he gets up to the time he goes to sleep. Throughout the day he is involved in studies or some activity or the other. This is one major reason why students from Boarding Schools turn out to be confident and versatile.
I firmly believe that every child has some talent or the other. It just needs to be discovered and nurtured. Boarding Schools help children discover themselves because they have the time to do so. They give children enough opportunities to discover themselves.
Having said all this in favour of Boarding Schools there is a big "IF" to be overcome. The "IF" is that the Boarding School a child joins must be well run. A happy and inspiring place, a place the child feels safe and cared for.
I see too many Boarding Schools just run on commercial grounds and little or no pastoral care provided. Everything is on paper and nothing more. A badly run Boarding School can be a nightmare for a child.
Management plays a big role in it. If the teachers are not looked after well and not respected there is little hope for the students or the School.
With knowledge freely and cheaply available the least a Boarding School can do is give care, affection and security to its students.
The other alternative can be a Day Boarding School where the School runs from 8 am to about, 4.30 pm The School provides breakfast and lunch. Afternoons are spent on Sports and Activities. For the parents, it is not an easy choice especially when realises the cost of education at all levels.
- Rajinder Pal Devgan is the Chairman of Learning Forward India