Principles of Gulen Inspired Schools - Boarding Schools

by Mustafa Shahin

There are many debates and discussions on the Gulen / Hizmet Movement and educational activities carried out by people inspired by the ideas of Mr. Fethullah Gulen. However it looks that available information on the web and elsewhere lack a clear set of guidelines in understanding and explaining what Gulen inspired schools and what the main educational principles of these institutions are. In this paper I’d like to explore 10 key factors in the success of the Gulen inspired schools. The first of these key principles is that most Gulen schools are boarding schools. The following is about the benefits of “bed and board” option offered at the Gülen inspired schools and why it is an important element of these schools.

 First and foremost, majority of Gulen inspired schools are boarding schools serving in the under-served parts of any given country. These schools intend to provide students with a safe educational environment free of distractions that may occur from, among others, dysfunctional families, economic instability, social and cultural problems. Lets analyze these factors one by one.

First, the schools that offer boarding for those students who request to stay in the dorms enables resident students to have access to a 24 hour education on campus. In the countries where offering dorms for 6-12 students are in line with local laws, these students can continue their educations even after a local school day ends in the afternoon.


In these schools, many students prefer boarding option over the day school option voluntarily. Because, otherwise these students would have gone to underage child labor outside of the school hours. With the boarding option these students are given the opportunity to stay in the school campus and join the after-school programs.

The Boarding schools is also a great opportunity for many students coming from dysfunctional families where one of the parents might be abusive due to alcohol, drug addiction or other reasons. Studies show that students from dysfunctional families are very satisfied with the boarding option where they can be free from stress etc that negatively impact their in-school performance.

For many students in the underdeveloped countries malnutrition is one of the prime reasons why students under-perform in the classes. Families who cannot afford to feed their kids, through boarding schools can provide their kids a healthy environment.

Room and Board option is also beneficial to students who come from low income neighborhoods where education is not seen as a viable option in a rewarding life. Excess of illegal activities and crime in these neighborhoods limit the ability of students to appreciate the importance of education.
Under all these negative conditions Gülen schools that offer room and board is a viable alternative for many students who do not have any way out.

Source: Hizmet Journal - 1/8/2013