Why to send your child to a boarding school in Kazakhstan? Is there a huge difference in a quality of knowledge gained between a boarding school and a mainstream school? What are the advantages of being a boarding school student?
As a graduate of a boarding school I can make many assumptions about the boarding schools based on my personal experience. Most of my statements are positive because a boarding school offers a completely unique education experience, with many advantages over other education experiences. Diana Stewart-Brown (2015), author of the article about boarding schools, claims that each child is different and whilst some children thrive at boarding school, others loathe being away from home. So sending your child away from home is something that needs to be carefully considered.
Although there are some disadvantages of boarding schools I see plethora of pros that overshadow the cons. There is also a blind belief that the boarding schools are very expensive there is a totally different reality. Improving foreign languages skills, International competitiveness, ISO standards, creating/integrating innovative education techniques and improvements are the current image of boarding schools in Kazakhstan. There is a same admission test for all from which there is a selection of top students. This is a current practice of the admission process in Kazakhstan.
If a student is accepted he/she joins a school that fosters supportive “all for together” community where students have opportunities to learn in collaboration. For instance, in our class we developed the strategy of so called “brotherhood” system which strengthened our friendship and practiced “pair help” in which one partner who had better academic achievements had a responsibility to improve his pairs’ grades which were generally at “satisfactory” level. Children are kept in safe from the parties, drinking and drugs that are sometimes more easily available to pupils at day schools especially in higher school teenager period. There is less use of technology. During school years we were forbidden to use smart phones in order to concentrate on better excellence of our academic skills. These all makes top boarding schools such as KTL and NIS (partly boarding schools) a way ahead in Olympiad competitions at all levels.
Boarding schools in Kazakhstan, especially Kazakh-Turkish lyceums, honor and maintain the traditions that they represent. There is a holistic approach to learning that extends well beyond classroom walls. We had many lessons of different subjects outside classroom, in a garden mostly in autumn and spring. This diversity allows for fuller integration of curricula and programs. In addition during an etude (two hour preparation for home tasks in the evening) we had an opportunity to take extra lessons from the subject teachers. Strict routine and independence from parents fosters self-responsibility among boarding school boys and girls. The dormitory plays vital role in students’-self reliance as a student is in charge for his/her bed, shelf and room (if a student is on duty) tidiness.
Teachers and older students in a boarding school environment are uniquely supportive of younger students. A class teacher and an abi (mentor, tutor) are responsible for the development of a class in the boarding school. Also older class students are very friendly to younger students and try to help in every possible way. This makes students of boarding schools more confident as they see support from other students. Students are often more social with one another because there is a huge range of activities like birthday celebrations and parent interviews.
Finally, all listed above should be a good recommendation to select boarding schools. There is also an evident difference in a quality of knowledge gained between a boarding school and a mainstream school. In addition to this boarding schools often create stronger friendships and alumni networks which last for a lifetime.
Photo credits to Dumankhan Abdashim.
Steward-Brown, D. (2015). Pros and cons of boarding school. Retrieved from http://www.ourkids.net/school/pros-cons-boarding-school.