A-Level student: We don’t need another cleaning programme

By Jacob Tan

Recently the new Acting Minister for Education Ng Chee Meng has embarked on his ‘new’ cleaning programme. “Getting the kids involved in such daily activities is really a good way to get them to learn personal responsibility and even social responsibility,” said Mr Ng.

As a student within the school system for 11 years, these are my views and opinions of this new initiative – it is entirely irrelevant and unnecessary. There are already existing initiatives on the ground to cover such things.

Generally there are initiatives on the ground that have been in place to maintain cleanliness in a school. Many would be familiar with the duty roster put in place at the beginning of the year which has to be supervised by the class monitor. Programmes such as this already ensure that students have a sense of belonging, sense of hygiene and a sense of responsibility.

In addition such a programme is rather feeble, because it is not as far-reaching. In fact there are other programmes such as the Happy Toilets programme, which’s purposes are to inculcate good toilet etiquette, personal hygiene habits and social responsibility in students.

Furthermore every single school throughout the island, regardless whether the school is a neighbourhood school or a top school, would have had such initiatives or programmes like the Project Buddy Clean in Marsiling Primary School. As such, this programme for all it is hailed, does very little.

Students already have a lot on their plates and don’t need to be further irritated by such a ‘cleaning programme’. Schools are primarily an environment to grow as a person. With a mountain of work as an A-Level student and having to sleep at 12am, there is very little I can relate to being forced up to clean up

A lot is expected from Singaporean students as it is. At the tender age of 12, they have to take an exam which determines the kind of people they will mix with in life. At 16 they take another exam which determines their future. We do not need another ‘social responsibility building’ project to be thrust upon us.

It is already very tiring for me to deal with my mountain of homework. This school cleaning programme will only be another KPI (key-performance-index) schools and the Ministry of Education (MOE) will use to promote itself and its staff. I am just tired of being used by schools and MOE in this manner.

The ‘school cleaning programme’ is perhaps the first initiative the new Acting Minister for Education (Schools) kick-started after he took office. But instead of this cleaning programme, the Minister could as one of the first acts after assuming office, have come out with a programme to ease the burden of school students and that would have been better appreciated by us students.

That is one programme students like me are still waiting for.


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