Learn the 5 Differences Between Boarding Schools and Pesantrens

Admin BFI
8 May 2024
Learn the 5 Differences Between Boarding Schools and Pesantrens

Parents naturally desire an educational environment where academic learning and moral development go hand in hand for their children. Among the alternatives that cater to these needs are boarding schools and pesantrens. However, often parents struggle to differentiate between boarding schools and pesantrens. Yet, upon closer examination, significant differences emerge between the two.


What are the differences between boarding schools and pesantrens? If you're interested in exploring both, read this article to the end!



1. What is a Boarding School?

1.1 Boarding School Definition

A boarding school not only prioritizes formal education but also focuses on shaping students' characters to be more ethical. In this setup, students reside together in dormitories. Can boarding school students go home? The answer is no. Students are only allowed to go home during school holidays. Boarding schools also permit students to leave for essential needs or when sick, provided they seek permission from their teachers.


1.2 Advantages of Boarding Schools

Enrolling your child in a boarding school offers several advantages:

  1. Enhanced Focus on Learning

The boarding school environment is designed to support students' academic focus by eliminating distractions like television, gadgets, and household chores. Students have structured and directed study time and easy access to libraries, study rooms, and other learning facilities.

  1. Increased Sensitivity and Empathy

Living with peers from diverse social and cultural backgrounds in a boarding school helps students develop empathy and tolerance. They learn to respect each other, collaborate, and resolve conflicts constructively. This experience helps them become more empathetic and caring individuals.

  1. Discipline Development

Boarding schools enforce strict discipline to ensure smooth learning processes and student safety. Students learn to wake up early, follow schedules, and complete tasks on time. This disciplined environment fosters positive habits and personal responsibility critical for future success.

  1. Access to Quality Teachers and Learning Facilities

Boarding schools generally have experienced and qualified teachers. Teachers at boarding schools have more time to interact with students and provide individual attention. Additionally, boarding schools are usually equipped with comprehensive and modern learning facilities like laboratories, libraries, and computer rooms.


2. What is a Pondok Pesantren?

2.1 Pondok Pesantren Definition

One of the longstanding Islamic educational institutions in Indonesia is the Pondok Pesantren. In a Pondok Pesantren, students (known as santri) live together in dormitories under the guidance of religious scholars known as 'Ustadz' or 'Kyai'. There are two types of Pondok Pesantren (Ponpres): Traditional and Modern. Traditional Pondok Pesantrens aim to preserve classical teachings as the core of their education. On the other hand, Modern Pondok Pesantrens focus on religion but also incorporate mainstream subjects such as Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics into their curriculum.


2.2 Advantages of Pondok Pesantrens

Enrolling your child in a Pesantren offers several advantages:

  1. Positive and Directed Friendship Environment

Pesantrens generally foster a more positive and directed friendship environment compared to regular schools. Santris are surrounded by peers with similar goals and values, namely to gain religious knowledge and improve themselves. This creates a conducive environment for learning and personal development, far from negative influences found outside the pesantren.

  1. Balanced Education Curriculum

Pesantrens offer a balanced curriculum between general education and religious studies. Santris not only study general subjects like mathematics, science, and languages but also delve deep into Islamic knowledge such as the Quran, Hadith, and Fiqh. This balance helps santris become knowledgeable, intelligent, and morally upright individuals.

  1. Emphasis on Character Education

Pesantrens are known for emphasizing character education. Santris are taught Islamic moral values such as discipline, responsibility, honesty, and cooperation through various activities like congregational prayers, group Quran recitation, and communal work. This helps santris become resilient, morally upright individuals ready to face life's challenges.

  1. Opportunity to Memorize the Quran

For santris interested and talented in Quran memorization, pesantrens offer Quran memorization programs guided by experienced religious scholars. This program allows santris to complete Quran memorization in a relatively short time, typically 3-6 years. Becoming a Hafiz (Quran memorizer) is a prestigious achievement with significant rewards in the eyes of Allah (SWT).


3. 5 Differences Between Boarding Schools and Pesantrens

Although they may appear similar, boarding schools and pesantrens have many differences. Here are 5 differences between boarding schools and pesantrens:


3.1 Founders

The first difference between boarding schools and pesantrens lies in their founders. Typically, boarding schools are founded by institutions, individuals, private foundations, organizations, government agencies, or private entities. Essentially, anyone with the means to establish a boarding school can do so.


In contrast, pesantrens are usually founded by religious scholars recognized by the community, such as Kyai, Ustadz, and Ulama. Typically, a pondok pesantren is a family affair. The primary goal of a pesantren is to create a platform for those who want to deepen their understanding of Islam.


3.2 Educational Costs

Another difference between boarding schools and pesantrens is seen in their educational costs. The cost of education depends on the facilities and reputation of the respective boarding school or pesantren. However, the majority of pesantrens have more affordable tuition fees. Usually, pesantren fees are more affordable because the facilities provided are simpler and have fewer additional costs.


In contrast, boarding schools tend to be more expensive due to dual education (formal education and Islamic education). However, boarding school fees also depend on the facilities provided.


3.3 Facilities

differences between boarding school and pesantrens

Image Source: Freepik


Another difference between boarding schools and pesantrens is the facilities provided. Typically, boarding schools have more luxurious buildings and comprehensive facilities. This is because boarding school construction is usually planned, and the necessary capital is prepared. Usually, construction is done all at once. However, if there are additional construction projects, the costs are borne by the students.


In contrast, pesantrens have more limited budgets and construction is done gradually according to available funds. Donors usually contribute to construction funding. It's rare for a pesantren to have to pay building costs.


3.4 Teaching Curriculum

Another difference between boarding schools and pesantrens lies in their curriculum. Boarding school curriculum prioritizes formal education curriculum established by the government. However, for the overall curriculum, boarding schools usually design a comprehensive-holistic curriculum. This curriculum combines academic development, religion, global perspectives, and life skills.


In contrast, the curriculum at pesantrens is based on the deepening of Islamic knowledge in the Quran, Hadith, and Fiqh. This focus makes education at pesantrens primarily Islamic. Some pesantrens also provide general education like entrepreneurship to enhance individual skills. However, the pesantren schedule can be quite intense with many books or subjects studied every day.


3.5 Educators

The final difference between boarding schools and pesantrens lies in their educators. Pesantrens are typically staffed by kyai, ustadz, or ustadzah who have a deep understanding or mastery of Islamic knowledge. Sometimes, outside kyai and ustadz are brought in to teach, but mostly it's the family members of the kyai.


In contrast, boarding schools have two types of educators. First, educators who meet formal school qualifications. Second, educators who have high Islamic knowledge and are deemed suitable to teach Islamic studies.


4. Recommended Boarding Schools in Indonesia

There are many boarding schools to choose from. Here are some boarding school recommendations you can consider observing:


4.1 Insan Cendekia Bogor

Insan Cendekia Bogor is an Islamic boarding school that offers comprehensive and quality educational facilities. However, parents need to allocate considerable funds for education. For middle school, parents need to pay Rp 36 million for admission, Rp 37 million for high school, and a monthly tuition fee of around Rp 3.9 million. The complete address of this boarding school is Jalan Raya Babakan Madang RT RW 01/02, Kadumangu, Kec. Babakan Madang, Kabupaten Bogor, West Java 16810.


4.2 Jakarta Islamic Boarding School

Jakarta Islamic Boarding School can be your next choice of boarding school. This boarding school is also one of the Islamic boarding schools in Jakarta. Jakarta Islamic Boarding School is located in Desa Suka Galih, Pasir Muncang, Sukagalih, Kec. Megamendung, Kabupaten Bogor, West Java 16770. The entrance fee for this boarding school is Rp 30.5 million for middle school, Rp 31.5 million for high school, and a monthly tuition fee of around Rp 4.2 million.


4.3 Al Hikmah Boarding School Batu

The next boarding school recommendation is located in East Java, namely Al Hikmah Boarding School. This boarding school offers both middle and high school boarding facilities. The boarding school provides integrated modern facilities with IT systems and competent instructors. The entrance fee for this boarding school is Rp 50 million for endowment, Rp 11 million for annual activity funds, and a monthly tuition fee of Rp 4.9 million. The address of this boarding school is Jl. Raya Giripurno No.145, Giripurno, Kec. Bumiaji, Kota Batu, East Java 65333.


4.4 Al Azhar School Yogyakarta

If you're interested in sending your child to Yogyakarta, this boarding school can be an option. This Islamic school provides exclusive boarding facilities located at Jalan Padjajaran, Sinduadi, Mlati, Sleman, DIY. The facilities they provide include exclusive dormitories, AC, private bathrooms with CCTV, swimming pool, laundry, WiFi, and security guards. The registration fee for this boarding school is Rp 600,000.


4.5 Al-Masoem Bandung

Another boarding school option is Al-Masoem located in Bandung. This boarding school has computer labs, biology labs, physics labs, chemistry labs, and language labs. The boarding school also has a minimarket, free WiFi, archery field, mini studio, CCTV, and reading corner. The estimated entrance fee for this boarding school is Rp 22-23 million for middle school and Rp 28-29 million for high school, which cannot be paid in installments and must be paid in full upon registration. The address of this boarding school is Jl. Kartika II, Gegerkalong, Kec. Sukasari, Kota Bandung, West Java 40153.


4.6 Dwiwarna Boarding School Bogor

Located in Bogor, Dwiwarna has collaborated with international institutions to provide students with opportunities to gain international insights and experiences in education. The facilities at Dwiwarna include football fields, basketball courts, laboratories, greenhouses, common rooms, dining halls, and libraries. The costs to be covered are Rp 2 million for registration, Rp 60 million for building fund (payable in 3 installments), and a monthly tuition fee of Rp 6.5 million. The full address of this boarding school is Jl. Raya Parung Km. 40 Bogor, 16330, West Java.


4.7 SMA Taruna Nusantara Magelang

The last boarding school recommendation is SMA Taruna Nusantara located in Magelang, Central Java. Managed by the Taman Taruna Nusantara Education Institution and under the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia Resource Development Foundation. Admission criteria for this school are quite stringent, including report card criteria and minimum IQ scores. The estimated costs for this boarding school are an admission fee of Rp 50 million, a school committee fee of Rp 1 million, and operational costs of Rp 5 million per month during the education period. The full address of this boarding school is Jalan Raya Puroworejo KM. 5, Magelang, Central Java 56172.


In conclusion, the above outlines the differences between boarding schools and pesantrens and offers recommendations for boarding schools that you can consider. It's important to remember that each school has its unique characteristics and strengths. Conduct thorough research, visit the schools, and talk to staff and students to gain a clearer picture of the learning environment and school culture.


If you're interested in enrolling your child in a pesantren or boarding school but lack sufficient funds, BFI Finance is ready to assist you. With the My Hajat program, you can use your car's BPKB to cover your child's enrollment costs at a Pesantren!


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