EQUITABLE EDUCATION

Let's not abolish boarding schools

In Summary

• Kuppet wants boarding schools abolished to end student unrest and the burning of dormitories

• Day schools are more affordable and equitable while boarding schools can help poorer pupils and those with mobile parents

A newly constructed dormitory at Emalindi Girls Secondary school, Kisa East Ward, Khwisero constituency.
A newly constructed dormitory at Emalindi Girls Secondary school, Kisa East Ward, Khwisero constituency.
Image: COURTESY

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers has called for the abolition of boarding schools to end the problem of student unrest.

This is a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Unruly students have been setting dormitories on fire. Therefore the solution is to get rid of dormitories. Philosophers call this a non-sequitur.

However there are still some good reasons for phasing out boarding schools and government has often hinted that it would like to do so.

Firstly, if all schools were day schools, it would free up resources for the oncoming wave of pupils due to population growth.

Secondly, countries like France and the USA with only day schools up to university are arguably more equitable. They have few elite schools like the secondary national schools in Kenya that separate high achievers from an early age.

Nevertheless it is probably not a good idea to abolish boarding schools. They are vital for professionals like the police who are always moving around the country. They offer schooling for pupils in remote areas. And they ensure that poorer pupils have the time and resources to study successfully.

Quote of the day: "Most men today cannot conceive of a freedom that does not involve somebody's slavery."

W. E. B. Du Bois
The American sociologist and activist was born on February 23, 1868