The purpose of community work in schools is to foster values among students from a young age and raise awareness about the many unfortunate people out there who need help ("Should schools enforce community work?"; March 28, "Don't make community work compulsory" by Mr Jeffrey Law Lee Beng; March 30, "Making it compulsory won't benefit students" by Mr Leong Kok Seng, April 2, and "Community work should be mandatory" by Ng Ying Ting; Voices of Youth, April 6).
However, the methods taken to achieve this purpose seem to have backfired.
In many schools, community work hours are recorded and, at the end of each assessment, a conduct grade is given.
This is not the best approach to take. Quality is more important than quantity.
Students feel obliged to do community work so that their conduct report will look good. They take it as a job to be done and do not put their hearts into it.
I acknowledge that the requirement ensures a higher level of participation, as not many students will do community work on their own initiative.
Hence, community work should continue to be compulsory, but there should not be any required number of hours for students to clock.
Yen Zhi Yi, 15,
Secondary 4 student