9 Reasons Why Formal Schooling Is Relevant in this Era of Virtual Learning

Times have changed and as a result, methods of teaching have evolved. The traditional process of acquiring education by enrolling in a school, receiving lectures within the four walls of a classroom and graduating one level before progressing to the next, has been disrupted by the introduction of online learning platforms.

Virtual learning is a major part of the current educational system. Online academies provide easy access to information, tutorials and lectures on almost every subject from basic maths to artificial intelligence. Using the right platforms, parents can gain access to well-structured programs and classes that enable them to homeschool their kids from kindergarten until they’re ready for college if they wish. 

This means that a lot of parents are beginning to question the necessity for sending their kids to school. If classes can be taken online at little to no cost, then why should you invest in enrolling your child for formal schooling? In this article, we’ll explain the importance of school and why formal schooling is still necessary for students in this era of online learning.

Best British School in Nigeria9 reasons why formal schooling is relevant

The fundamental point of a school as an institution is to provide your kids with a structured environment where they can learn, socialize, get mentored and build their cognitive abilities through various activities, tasks and assignments.

1. Formal schooling provides formation 

Basic morals like respecting elders and learning how to speak to people in public don’t come prepackaged with subject-focused online classes. Formal schooling, on the other hand, goes beyond acquiring knowledge or training children to be academically sound. It encompasses moral, mental and emotional formation which serve as a solid foundation for a good life. For all levels from preschool to high school, the school environment prepares students to thrive in society, university and their future careers. 

Good schools that offer a well-rounded education provide access to a team of qualified teachers, experienced counsellors and mentors, who are well-trained and readily available. Based on their guidance, students attain intellectual, social, emotional, mental and physical development that helps build their character and morals. 

2. Formal schooling helps children build quality networks

When you look at strong alumni networks, you’ll agree that schools offer students a deep sense of belonging by connecting them with diverse groups of people who are likely to share similar interests, ideas or goals. The period of time students spend together in school helps them develop long lasting bonds with each other, that might translate to business networks in future. A child that feels connected to a network of friends is better equipped to desire change, growth and the progress of his/her society. A network of friends within a like-minded community will go a long way in driving change and grooming children who will become future leaders in the society. 

3. Formal schooling encourages effective collaboration among students 

According to LinkedIn, collaboration is the third most important skill companies need in 2020 and beyond. Companies are often willing to offer training to develop technical skills; however, they increasingly favour candidates who already possess soft skills like collaboration or emotional intelligence

One reason collaboration is so essential is that people must work together for a society to function. The same thing goes for the educational experience; peer-to-peer collaboration encourages students to work together to solve a problem. Working in groups not only enhances creative thinking, it also provides an environment where students can share their opinions, listen to others and communicate ideas.  Due to the diversity in skills, religion, culture and knowledge, this sort of collaboration enables students to learn new things from one another. 

By engaging in collaborative activities like group discussions, drama, music practise and team sports/games, children learn how to set principles and work towards a common goal while gaining soft skills that can be useful later in life. 

4. Formal schooling helps children build social skills and confidence

In a world where the relationships built with others and social confidence can get you into any room or a seat at any table, social skills are highly essential. Co-curricular activities, which are the bedrock of developing social skills, are almost impossible to replicate/execute through online platforms. This means students largely miss out on opportunities to physically participate, bond and learn from the peer-to-peer engagement that goes beyond academics. 

The frequent interaction with school mates from different socioeconomic backgrounds exposes students to alternating points of view which fosters empathy and helps them relate better with people who might share different perspectives from them. An early-childhood research also suggests that social interaction helps develop a child’s cognitive abilities which make a case for its relevance in child education. 

5. Formal schooling provides direct learning support from qualified teachers

Experienced and professionally trained teachers are employed in schools for the purpose of helping students attain their full potential. This same level of professionalism and personal touch cannot be accessed or guaranteed via virtual learning. In a school that establishes an open door policy, students can, at any time, contact and communicate with their teachers one-on-one. This close proximity and relationship with qualified teachers help to increase students’ confidence in their learning. It also makes it easy for them to have face-to-face dialogues about academic performance and general expectations. 

Access to learning support is one of the key benefits of formal schooling. Students who struggle academically are given the special attention and tutoring they require to improve. Considering that children learn at a different pace and through different methods, teachers are trained to understand what approach best works for each student in their class. As a result, C-grade students can be transformed into A-star students—thanks to active monitoring and assisted learning. 

6. Formal schooling offers strong mentorship, guidance and career counselling

Guidance/counselling and mentorship in elementary and secondary schools are essential to a student’s academic and personal development. One-on-one counselling can help students through negative experiences and often leads to improvement in their self-esteem, behaviour and academic performance. With a focus on the students’ well being and nurturing their potentials, counsellors and mentors create avenues for students to build connections, trust and friendship, based on a shared understanding. 

Providing mentorship for students from an early stage gives students the chance to develop self-awareness, discover their abilities and learn to set and accomplish specific academic and social goals. Through guided assessment, reflection and goal-setting, students begin to recognize their strengths and weaknesses that enable them to set resolutions for self-improvement.

7. Formal schooling enables effective collaboration with parents

Regardless of how committed parents are to their kids, raising a child to be academically, morally, socially, spiritually, emotionally and physically sound is not a one or two-man job. It still takes a village to raise a child. Formal schools offer a supportive community with highly dedicated members whose jobs are to nurture kids. If you consider the basic skills like decision-making, creative thinking and empathy which children require to navigate the challenges of life, many — if not all — can be learnt at school. 

Parents, on the other hand, who juggle busy schedules or demanding jobs / to-do lists, can get the much needed time-off from their kids to focus on their jobs, personal needs and other family obligations.

8. Formal schooling provides relevant apparatus for practical experiments

Imagine a science student who only watches how experiments are performed, but is unable to participate due to the lack of a safe and controlled environment or equipment required to perform such experiments. That wouldn’t be an encouraging experience.

In addition to traditional apparatus and science laboratories, formal schooling provides cutting-edge classroom technology such as virtual/augmented reality gadgets, air and sea labs and Wowbii boards to meet the required standards for 21st-century learners. 

Certainly, virtual learning is gaining recognition and acceptance. It also makes a strong case for ease of access for end-users. However, since traditional classrooms are now equipped with modern technology, parents have to consider the major benefits of formal schooling and its role in raising well-rounded children. 

9. Formal schooling grants access to trusted certifications for academic advancement

A large percentage of online schools offer free courses, but rarely do they offer accredited certificates. With the low barriers to entry, starting an online academy requires less rigour than setting up a physical institution and as a result, the sector is flooded with schools offering certificates with questionable legitimacy. 

For many, obtaining a degree from a credible institution is essential for academic and career advancement. Particularly in specialized careers like medicine or rocket science. In fast-growing occupations across the healthcare and STEM sectors, over 80 percent of jobs require a bachelor’s degree, and this cannot be obtained without going through an accredited examination held by trusted institutions. 

A child’s academic path is mostly based on his or her ability to graduate from elementary to secondary school, then to university and beyond. A child who doesn’t obtain First School Leaving Certificate may not be able to advance to secondary school and in secondary school, a child needs certificates such as IGSCE or WAEC from an accredited institution to be eligible to apply for entry into a university. It’s almost impossible to guarantee a seamless passage through all these preliminary stages when running a full-time online programme.

Formal schooling eliminates the need to question the legitimacy of your child’s certificate. Instead, you can focus on supporting your child to ensure he or she is emotionally and mentally ready for the next academic stage.

In summary, formal schooling provides an environment where students can learn almost all the necessary life skills they require to become valued members of a successful society.