Saturday, 27 February 2016

Daily cleaning by students will be introduced in all schools

A clean way to pick up good habits in schools
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, 26 Feb 2016

To instill a sense of responsibility for shared spaces, and hopefully impart good habits for life, all schools will involve their students in daily cleaning activities by the end of the year.

This was announced yesterday by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which explained that it will be left to schools - some of which already include five to 10 minutes of cleaning activities - to come up with their own programmes.

Cleaning can take place before the first lesson, or during recess, for instance, and involve the cleaning of classrooms or common areas such as corridors. But toilets will be excluded.

Cultivating Good Habits for Life through Everyday Responsibilites
Catch our Xingnan Primary School students take on classroom cleaning responsibilities together. These daily activities aim to cultivate good habits, personal and social responsibility not just in schools, but also at home.
Posted by Ministry of Education, Singapore on Friday, February 26, 2016


Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said during a visit to Xingnan Primary in Jurong West yesterday: "Getting the kids involved in such daily activities is really a good way to get them to learn personal responsibility and even social responsibility."

Ms Denise Phua, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, hopes students will learn to pick up after themselves instead of expecting others to do so.

"It gives more respect to the school cleaners when cleaning is seen as everyone's joint responsibility and not only of those who are paid to clean up after us," she said.

There were some who wondered if daily cleaning would take up too much of the students' class time.

But many who reacted to the news wrote about their own school memories of tidying up after using a classroom, and lauded the move, saying students will be able to take ownership of their shared spaces.

Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, which will support schools in outreach efforts, said: "I have friends... ranting about children who think that their chores are to be done by hired help.

"It is good to re-emphasise such lessons and activities in our schools, and it will actually be interesting if the young take these lessons back home and practise them there too."




One small sweep for a child, one big step towards a cleaner Singapore  Joined the Pri 1 students from Xingnan Pri...
Posted by Ng Chee Meng 黄志明 on Thursday, February 25, 2016





Daily cleaning 'cultivates good habits for life'
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, 26 Feb 2016

Taking a cue from Japan and Taiwan, students in primary and secondary schools here, as well as those in junior colleges, will have to spend at least a few minutes each day cleaning classrooms, canteens and corridors by the year end.

The aim, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday, is to help them cultivate good habits for life.

Highlighting how many schools already include five to 10 minutes of cleaning by students, MOE said this will be made compulsory across all schools by the year end. Schools are free to decide on what these daily activities should be, and when they take place.

Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, who yesterday visited Xingnan Primary School, where pupils clean up after recess and at the end of the school day, said getting students involved in daily cleaning is a good way to get them to learn personal and social responsibility.

Mr Ng, who joined the pupils in tidying up the classroom, explained that when children follow a routine, they can "cultivate good habits and make them a part of their lives".


NOT A CHORE: Ministry of Education, Singapore wants to cultivate good life habits in students through cleaning activities. By the year's end, all schools will have students take part in daily cleaning. http://bit.ly/1mZgtno
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Thursday, February 25, 2016


The Public Hygiene Council (PHC) and Singapore Kindness Movement will also help in outreach efforts.

PHC chairman Edward D'Silva said the move was not a response to anything in particular. "During my time, all schools had area cleaning. We cleaned classrooms, toilets and corridors," he added. "We hope to promote the good values that we used to have before."

The ministry had looked at similar practices from education systems in Japan and Taiwan. In these places, cleaning the school compound is a daily routine for students. Many schools do not employ cleaners or janitors.

Ms Lee Bee Wah, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for the Environment and Water Resources, also told The Straits Times that schools in Taiwan even find ways to motivate students to clean up, including letting them decorate their classrooms and toilets. Students also sometimes compete to see who can sort the trash faster.

"In Singapore, many people, especially younger people, are used to maids or cleaners cleaning up after them," she said. "If we don't arrest this trend now, our littering problem will only get worse."

Serangoon Junior College principal Manogaran Suppiah said getting students involved with the cleaning would give them a sense of ownership of their school space.

Second-year Meridian Junior College student Goh Shu Yi, 17, said that even without such organised cleaning activities, she and her schoolmates already pick up after themselves. "It is something we do because it is a good habit," she said.

Primary 5 pupil Nadya Adriana, who studies at Xingnan, said she usually helps by sweeping the floor or wiping the whiteboards during recess or before dismissal.

"If we don't keep the classroom clean, we might not be able to concentrate during lessons," said the 11-year-old.





Students in all schools - from primary schools to junior colleges - will be involved in the daily cleaning of their school by the end of this year.
Posted by The Straits Times on Wednesday, February 24, 2016






Helping keep their environment clean
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, 26 Feb 2016

Xingnan Primary School

Pupils have to clean up after recess and at the end of the school day.

Another initiative, Project Mozzie, involves pupils checking out different spots around the school for stagnant water and mosquito larvae.

All Primary 1 pupils also take home an activity sheet as part of the school's Little Home Helper Programme.

They then note down how they help their family with household chores. To encourage their children, parents can write appreciation notes on these sheets after a task is completed.


Park View Primary School

Music is played five minutes before the end of the school day, the cue for all pupils to start cleaning their classrooms.


New Town Secondary School

All students start their school day with a cleaning routine.

Tasks include cleaning the whiteboards, keeping the classroom litter-free and arranging the classroom furniture, such as tables and chairs, neatly.


Serangoon Junior College

For one minute before the start of every lesson, students check for litter in the class and pick it up.

Also, cleaners are given a one-day break at the start of the year. That day, second-year students are the ones who do the cleaning in the school, including the toilets.

The initiative is meant to get students to appreciate the school's cleaners and inculcate a sense of responsibility.





Training "standby classroom" from young, so that next time "standby bed" in NS will be easy #ISeeWhatHeDidThere
Posted by SGAG on Friday, February 26, 2016






Parents give thumbs up, but some have doubts
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, 26 Feb 2016

While most parents said the move to get students to help clean their schools is a good one, a few wondered if it may eat into class time.

Madam Lee May Cheng, 38, who has a seven-year-old son, added that such activities may not be suitable for younger children. "They may get too tired after the cleaning, especially if the activities are repeated through the day," the housewife said. "And they may not be able to concentrate during the lessons afterwards."

Added a 40-year-old sales executive, who declined to be named: "The schools already have janitors. Students should be allowed to focus on their studies."

But many parents hope the cleaning activities will teach children responsibility, especially to those who have maids at home.

"Rather than raising children who assume that everything is done for them, we need our young to get involved in cleaning up and making it a habit," said administrative executive Julie Tan, 43, who has an eight-year-old daughter.

"I am sure there are many children, maybe some older ones too, who have not even held a broom or mopped the floor."

Ms Patricia Peh, 40, whose 11-year-old daughter is studying at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' Primary School, said there is a need for children to be more involved in such chores, so they do not take cleanliness for granted.

"Households these days have maids, and some parents treat their children like princes and princesses, so it is difficult to enforce cleaning at home," she said.

A few parents, such as part-time tutor Nur Azreen Jerma'ain, 36, said that habits cultivated in classrooms often spill over into homes.

Madam Azreen, who has two children aged seven and nine studying at Xingnan Primary, said her children are more responsible now. The primary school in Jurong West has implemented a number of initiatives, including having pupils clean their respective classrooms 10 minutes before school dismissal.

"After meals, my children will help to clear the table without being asked to do so," she said.

Information technology manager Abdul Rahim, 52, who has two sons aged 16 and 18, believes good habits should take root at home.

If children do not pick up after themselves, then "it is the home environment that is at fault", he said.

"During my time, we would clean a classroom if we have used it. We don't need to set aside time for it."

After the announcement, many showed support online for the introduction of daily cleaning in schools.

One Facebook user wrote: "It brings back the good old days of cleaning the classroom at the end of the day. We should not deprive the kids of the fun."





Experts laud move to have students clean schools
Educators see long-term benefits to children, community; some schools already doing it
By Calvin Yang and Alexis Ong, The Straits Times, 29 Feb 2016

A move to make all schools include cleaning activities by the end of the year could bring long-term benefits to both students and the community, according to education experts and sociologists.

The scheme will help build character, cultivate a sense of ownership and spill over to the home environment.

Last Thursday, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that students in primary and secondary schools here, as well as those in junior colleges, will have to spend at least a few minutes each day cleaning classrooms, canteens and corridors.

The aim, according to the ministry, is to help them cultivate good habits for life. Schools are given the flexibility to decide on what these daily activities should be and when they take place.

Dr Kang Soon Hock, who heads the social science core at SIM University, said that when students actively participate in the daily clean-up activities, they will learn to take responsibility. The cleaning activities also give them opportunities to work with their classmates.

Dr Timothy Chan, director of SIM Global Education's academic division, believes such cleaning duties help students to learn to live in communities. "Participating in cleaning the school environment is one effective way to learn how to live together," he said. "Through such activities, students will look at cleanliness not just as a condition, but also as an attitude."

However, Dr Chan added that the activities have to be planned carefully by the schools.

"In order to alleviate parents' concerns, schools may consider excluding certain areas from being cleaned by students, such as unsheltered areas," he said.

Prior to Thursday's announcement, many schools had already included five to 10 minutes of cleaning work by students.

At St Joseph's Institution, students follow a roster of classroom cleaning duties. Tasks include cleaning the whiteboards, sweeping the floor and taking out the trash.

At Haig Girls' School, pupils will, among other tasks, clean the canteen after recess and pick up litter in the classroom between lessons.

In the past, there would be tissue paper and food packets on the floor in common spaces like the canteen, said principal Constance Loke.

She added: "Pupils are now more conscious about picking up litter and the common spaces in the school are much cleaner."

Some schools have implemented more cleaning initiatives this year.

At Meridian Junior College, students have to ensure a classroom is ready for use before every tutorial. This includes cleaning the whiteboards and arranging the classroom furniture neatly at the start and end of every lesson.

Principal Lim Yan Hock said: "It ensures that each student starts the lesson not only with a clean working environment, but also one that is clutter-free."

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said the cleaning tasks will allow students to appreciate their school and estate cleaners and, for some, their domestic helpers.

"For too long, we've been expecting a clean environment to exist by other people's effort and toil," she added.

"There's no better way to impart values and build character than by rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands dirty and doing the work together."





Practice teaches young Japanese to respect environment
By Alexis Ong, The Straits Times, 29 Feb 2016

In traditional Japanese schools, students do o-soji, which translates as "big cleaning".

Students are rostered to tidy classrooms and wash toilets for about 20 minutes, sometimes for four days a week.

Contrary to popular belief, Japanese schools do have cleaning staff, or shuji, to make sure the school remains clean. However, all students are still required to scrub floors and sweep.


These processes aim to make them respect their surroundings and refrain from making a mess as they will be the ones cleaning them.


It also puts all students, regardless of social status or wealth, on an equal footing.




The Japanese School in Singapore tones down the practice due to its tight curriculum structure, but the purpose behind it remains.


Students have a mass clean-up session every Monday for 10 to 15 minutes before dismissal.

At its primary school campus - each of its three campuses has an average of 800 students - the school employs only four cleaners.

The rest of the responsibility of maintaining cleanliness falls on the pupils. For example, instead of eating in a cafeteria, they eat in the classroom.

Teacher Aiko Kuno, 34, said: "The students clean the tables before they eat and after too. They like cleaning." She affirmed that they are conscientious about cleaning up after themselves, so pest infestations have never been a problem.

Basic practices, like flushing and not flicking water onto the floor in the toilet, are other things they observe.

Principal Maekawa Yoshihiro said: "For a long time, it has been an important part of Japanese education to teach our children, from a young age, virtues such as cleaning up after themselves, being punctual and greeting their elders.

"When this becomes a habit, they will continue practising this when they are older and begin work, when such virtues are all the more important."






Tidy classroom = clean Singapore
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, 27 Feb 2016

Students in primary and secondary schools, as well as those in junior colleges, will have to spend at least a few minutes each day cleaning classrooms, canteens and corridors by the end of this year.

The Ministry of Education announced the move on Thursday in an effort to help students cultivate good life habits. However, many have questioned the need for compulsory cleaning activities. On the other hand, some recalled how they used to tidy up after using a classroom, and how it almost became instinctive to clean the blackboard or sweep the floor at day's end.

In recent years, cracks have started to appear in Singapore's global reputation for cleanliness. More than 26,000 littering fines were meted out by the National Environment Agency last year - the highest since 2009, when over 41,000 were given out. Nearly seven in 10 caught were Singapore residents.

The problem, it seems, is that our clean image is largely the result of an army of hired cleaners.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last year urged Singaporeans to make Singapore a clean city rather than a "cleaned" one, in a post in reaction to trash left behind by Laneway music festival revellers.

In addition, overprotective parents are increasingly leaving the cleaning to hired help rather than teaching their children to do it.

Anti-littering advocates have pushed for more education on littering, especially among the young.

Hence, the move to have students pick up after themselves is a step in the right direction.

This is not the first time. There have been various movements, such as a Use Your Hands campaign introduced in 1976, to get students to improve school gardens and clean up the premises.

Yet, after years of such campaigns, Singapore has not reached a level of civic consciousness displayed by other Asian countries like Japan, where cleaning the school compound is a daily routine for students.

It is still too early to say if the latest move will bear fruit. But if we do not arrest the trend now, it may be too late when our seemingly overprotected children - who assume that someone will clean up after them - become parents themselves.











* All schools to have cleaning activities daily from January 2017
They have the flexibility to decide what these should be and when; aim is to cultivate good habits
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, 12 Dec 2016

Students from primary school to junior college will have to clean classrooms, canteens and corridors daily when schools reopen next month.

All schools have now implemented cleaning activities, the Ministry of Education (MOE) told The Straits Times in an update. The aim is to help students cultivate good habits for life.

Schools are given the flexibility to decide on what these daily activities should be and when they take place.

This comes after the ministry announced in February that it will make daily cleaning compulsory across schools by the year end. There are currently 365 schools.

Xinmin Primary School in Hougang has implemented daily cleaning activities since July. After teachers finish their last lessons, about 10 minutes before the end of a school day, pupils clean their classrooms. Vice-principal Clement Lee said this helps pupils develop good values.



At Coral Secondary School in Pasir Ris, students - armed with rags, tongs and disposable gloves - empty the dustbins and arrange the classroom furniture, as well as sweep the floor, for five minutes at the start of the school day.

To motivate them, the school introduced cleanliness checks, done at least twice a term.

After each check, classes are informed of their scores in four respective areas - floor, rubbish bin, classroom furniture, white board and notice board. Classes that have done well are lauded during morning assemblies at the end of each term.

Mrs Chang-Loy Wee Meng, the school's vice-principal, said students can also identify areas for improvement. For example, some classes have introduced storage spaces to arrange their files and books. The initiative inculcates a greater sense of ownership among students in managing common spaces.

"In fact, the cleaners had given positive feedback on the state of cleanliness in the classrooms," she said.

At Teck Ghee Primary School in Ang Mo Kio, pupils clean classrooms and corridors alongside their teachers for five minutes at the end of the school day. Songs, adapted to suit the cleaning theme and sung by the teachers, are played over the public address system while the pupils clean. Vice-principal Raps Azrinah said teachers are role models for the pupils. "Everyone must play their part to keep shared spaces clean and tidy."

MOE said feedback has shown that such activities have helped to "cultivate good life habits in students both in school and at home".

It had looked at similar practices at schools in Japan and Taiwan. Cleaning the school compound is a daily routine for students there. Many also do not employ cleaners.

Parents who spoke to The Straits Times have given MOE's move the thumbs up. Many explained that cleaning activities will teach students important values, especially for those who have maids at home.

Mrs Jenny Lee, 47, who has two teenage sons, said: "Kids these days may take cleanliness for granted. The daily cleaning activities would help them pick up good habits."

One parent, who would not give her name, however, has her doubts. "Such activities may not be appropriate for the younger ones," she added. "They may get tired easily and lose focus on their studies."

Dr Timothy Chan, director of SIM Global Education's academic division, said students get more than just clean classrooms. "It puts all students, regardless of social status or wealth, on an equal footing and builds character in them," he added.

"Some parents criticise our schools for being like cookie-cutters, producing the same type of students who know only how to pass exams and lack life skills. Hence, getting students to take part in cleaning exercises in school is a good way to impart fundamental life skills."

Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua, who heads the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said such activities keep students grounded, and cultivate the habit of picking up after oneself.

"It is important to ensure that this cleaning activity is not the latest flavour of the month and will remain a habit for life," she added.










** A sweeping change in school
Cleaning classrooms a daily ritual as schools aim to cultivate good habits among students
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, 23 Jan 2017

Like clockwork, pupils at Xinmin Primary School drop their textbooks and pens, and pick up brooms, whiteboard dusters and other cleaning tools when a chime is played over the PA system five minutes before dismissal every day.

They busy themselves with arranging the classroom furniture, sweeping the floor, wiping the whiteboard and dusting the shelves.

Scenes like these are repeated throughout the island because all students from primary school to junior college now have to clean classrooms and corridors daily.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) told The Straits Times that all schools have implemented daily cleaning, which was a target MOE had set for the end of last year.

Students take part in cleaning after assembly in the morning, in between lessons, before or after their recess breaks, or at the end of the school day.

The aim is to help them cultivate good habits for life.



MOE had looked at similar practices from education systems in Japan and Taiwan, where cleaning the school compound is a daily routine for students.

The ministry has since received positive feedback from the schools, parents and students.

"Feedback has shown that the cleaning activities have helped to inculcate values such as a sense of responsibility and consideration for others," said an MOE spokesman. "Through these activities, students also cultivate good life habits both in school and at home."

Educators also lauded the move.

Mr A. Sivam Reddy, principal of Xinmin Primary, said implementing such activities in all schools creates a common experience for this generation of students.

"This initiative also puts all students, regardless of social status or wealth, on an equal footing."

Some teachers and school leaders have also set the tone, by being role models themselves.

Mr Adrian Tan, head of the character and citizenship education department at Juying Secondary School, said: "Cleaning up after ourselves is a basic life skill.

"It is not uncommon for students to see their teachers and school leaders stopping to pick up a piece of litter on the floor and deposit it into the nearest rubbish bin."

Schools are given the flexibility to decide on what these activities should be and when they take place. Some have come up with creative activities to make cleaning fun while inculcating good habits in the students.

At Teck Ghee Primary School in Ang Mo Kio, for instance, the pupils clean classrooms and corridors alongside their teachers for five minutes at the end of the school day.

Songs, adapted to suit the cleaning theme and sung by the teachers, are played over the public address system while the pupils clean.

National University of Singapore economics lecturer Kelvin Seah said such activities help students to keep their shared spaces tidy and compel them to think twice before dirtying those areas.

"In order for the cleaning activities to be impactful - that is, to reach its objective of inculcating desired values - schools should communicate to students the lessons that could potentially be taken away from each activity," he said.

"This way, students will not come to see these activities as chores and end up doing them mechanically."




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