It isn’t easy living and studying away from home, but for some, the benefits of doing so far outweigh the disadvantages.
IMAGINE living in your school for 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the entire school year.
Did a shudder just run through your body?
Residential school students have prep, which is conducted after regular school hours, and can consist of self-study, enrichment programmes or extra classes.
While going to school might be the highlight of the day for some students, most other students probably just view it as a compulsory daily routine.
Why then do students choose to attend fully residential schools, or sekolah berasrama penuh?
The reasons why
For some, it is due to family influence.
“Both my parents were in boarding schools, and they always told stories at home about their schools, and I wanted to be like them,” says Sekolah Seri Puteri (SSP), Cyberjaya, Form Two student Nadia Alyssa Shamsul Muhardzi.
Her schoolmate, Form Four student, Fatimah Nadiah Mohd Hisham agrees.
Opportunities to go on international exchange programmes like this homestay programme in Italy is one of the main benefits of attending residential school.
“My father went to MCKK (Malay College Kuala Kangsar) and my mother went to TKC (Tunku Kurshiah College, Seremban),” she explains.
“They both said that boarding school was fun, and would tell how they used to be ‘tortured’ in school.
“Plus students in boarding schools get to go overseas and have lots of opportunities that day schools don’t offer,” she says.
The advantages that residential schools offer, like increased opportunities and a reputation for academic excellence, are part of the reasons why students choose to enter these schools.
Says Form Four student Nur Ashiqin Mohd Azlan Shah: “We have the chance to participate in many programmes, especially international exchange programmes.
Co-curricular activities are carried out every weekday evening, and practice sessions are easy to arrange as everyone lives in school
“For example, here in SSP, we have linkages with South Korea, Indonesia and many other countries.”
Meanwhile, Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah (SAS), Putrajaya, Form Five student Muhammad Zuheir Zulkifely, shares that the learning environment in residential schools is different from regular day schools.
“Our teachers are very experienced, and many of them are Guru Cemerlang (Excellent Teacher),” he says, adding that they get extra classes, or prep, from their teachers after regular school hours.
Living in a community of high-achievers also creates a different atmosphere from day schools, he adds.
Entry into residential schools in Malaysia is very competitive, with usually a score of all A’s in either the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) or Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) required.
Students in Sekolah Seri Puteri keep in touch with the outside world through the Internet at cyberkiosks like this located around their s chool
Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom explains that besides good results, the ministry also takes students’ achievements in co-curricular activities, whether they are from rural areas and low income families into consideration.
Everything is planned
While the advantages of attending a residential school are many, there is also no doubt that the life of such a student is tightly scheduled and packed to the brim.
A typical school day starts around 5.30am and ends around 11.30pm. (Refer to table)
“Our schedule is so packed that sometimes we have to extend our study time into the night.”
Students in these schools, especially those about to take public exams, are allowed to study past lights out in their hostel study rooms.
“Being in a boarding school means strict schedules. I learnt how to be on time, and at the same time, enjoy myself and not be so stressed,” she says.
Having to live with so many other fellow students also inculcates other values.
Says Form Four student Muneeba Ubaidi Hishamudin: “The biggest thing I learnt is to be more patient.
“Before this, I had a short temper and didn’t think about the consequences of my actions.
“But being here, I learnt to be patient and how to compromise, and that it’s not all about me, but about other people too.”
by Tan Shiow Chin.
Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2010/8/22/education/6886539&sec=education