The reason why children had to leave their homes to go to boarding schools was to leave an environment that made formal learning impossible to where formal learning was the order of the day.
This was even truer in the early days of colonialism for younger generations to be inculcated into mannerisms and ways of the colonizer. Basically, to fit into the colonizers’ order. In other words, the colonizers way was and, in most cases still is, what is considered formal learning.
Things have evolved though, and many of the realities of the past are no longer tenable today. For example, what was “formal” knowledge curated and hoarded in school setups or even universities is now available for free everywhere. Those institutions that have realized it have evolved to just offer accreditation rather than the education. This way you can get a degree with just a few hours of contact with the educator.
Thanks to the evolution of technology, information, equipment and skills are within reach of villages in Kenya. Most of what may be needed is source of power and an address. The so-called centers of excellence can be replicated virtually anywhere. Sometimes even at the comfort of one’s living spaces.
Since there are more high-quality educators than the centers of excellence and budget distributed to ward levels, it is possible to distribute the education centers of excellence as well to the villages. This will eliminate the need of students travelling miles away to be boarded in the name of seeking education.
Parents would not need to send their children far away sacrificing quality family time to seek quality education if good enough education centers are right next door. Boarding schools at any level would not be necessary.
Although it seems like a far fetched idea at this time, we are making great strides towards this direction as a nation. With electricity being available to virtually 75% of the population in Kenya, according to a report by Comesa in 2021 this is a reality that can be achieved sooner rather than later.
It is true that most children spend a lot of time in school as opposed to spending quality time at home with their parents. This has not been very beneficial in raising well rounded individuals as contact between parents and their children is limited to one day in a week for most homes – hardly enough time to mould the young ones and actually get to spend quality family time together.
My suggestion : Do away with boarding schools, there is no downside to this.
Signed : Sese