close up photo of students cleaning using broom. (Cropped photo of Linette Lim, Mediacorp)

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has issued a press statement to welcome the Ministry of Education’s (MOE’s) decision to have students clean their school premises, saying that the move will help to instill a sense of responsibility in students for the environment.
MOE in its press release yesterday, said that students in all schools will be involved in and help each other in the daily cleaning of their school environment by end of 2016.
The ministry added that schools hope to inculcate in students a sense of responsibility through the cleaning activities and care for their own space and for shared spaces. Cleaning can be carried out at different periods, such as before the first lesson, during recess, in between lessons, or just before dismissal.
Areas include the classrooms and common areas, such as canteens and corridors. The learning from schools can be transferred to the home environment. Students have everyday responsibilities both in school and at home to do these chores. With this constant practice both in school and at home, students learn pro-social behaviours and cultivate good life habits.
SDP in its press statement, also said that it wants to see the MOE come up with guidelines on what the students are and are not required to perform.

“We also repeat our call for the reduction of the school syllabus to enable students greater opportunity to engage in collaborative and interactive activities that will facilitate creative learning.” wrote Dr Wong Souk Yee, SDP’s Chairperson.
She further wrote that students are already given a tremendous amount of classroom work and they have to undertake Co-Curricular Activities which add to their already full day, causing many of them to return home late in the day.
It is said that a number of schools have already incorporated five to ten minutes of cleaning activities within their school hours each day. Schools that have done so:

  • Xingnan Primary School – Students are involved in cleaning at the end of recess and at the end of the day. To cultivate the habit from young, Primary 1 students also have an activity to document how they help their family members with household chores.
  • Park View Primary School – Music is played five minutes before the end of each school day, signaling the start of the classroom cleaning routine for all students.
  • New Town Secondary School – At the start of the day all students follow the C.L.E.A.N acronym to guide their routine: Clean the whiteboard, Litter-free classroom, Ensure windows and doors are opened, Arrange tables and chairs, and Neatly place the bags on the floor.
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