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Make students understand why they have to pick up the broom

While I can see how daily cleaning in school can instil responsibility and other values in students, I feel that the impact it has on fostering a culture of cleanliness and social responsibility would be minimal ("Getting students to clean can hit pay dirt"; Jan 5).

This is because the Government is forcing students to participate in cleaning up instead of teaching them its importance. It is easy to pick up a broom to sweep the floor, but would the students understand why they are doing it?

Without understanding, it is impossible to cultivate a culture of cleanliness or instil social responsibility, as students would not comprehend the need to pick up after themselves wherever they are.

This can be seen in my own school. Despite a duty roster for students, hair, eraser dust and leaves are a common sight in class, as most neglect their assigned duty because they do not see its importance.

Instead of implementing daily cleaning, posters could be put up around the school to illustrate the deterioration of the surroundings and its impact on others if students refuse to take responsibility for their actions. This also reinforces the idea of a culture of cleanliness.

In addition, teachers could show the way by cleaning up after themselves. Setting a good example would motivate the students to follow suit, as well as value their surroundings more.

Lastly, it is imperative that students understand that cleaning up creates a conducive environment for everyone. They have to build empathy for one another, to bring about a positive change in social attitudes.

Elvia Ng Yu Xin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 05, 2017, with the headline 'Make students understand why they have to pick up the broom'. Print Edition | Subscribe