JC students ensure shared spaces are kept clean

TPJC student Jaydon Chong Wei Ler (centre) sweeping the floor after a lesson. First-year students at the junior college assist the cleaners, even with cleaning the toilets, as part of Project Kirei, a student-driven initiative.
TPJC student Jaydon Chong Wei Ler (centre) sweeping the floor after a lesson. First-year students at the junior college assist the cleaners, even with cleaning the toilets, as part of Project Kirei, a student-driven initiative.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

First-year students at Tampines Junior College (TPJC) not only clean their classrooms between lessons.

They also shadow the school's cleaners and work alongside them, including cleaning the toilets and sweeping the lecture theatres.

The initiative, known as Project Kirei, was introduced in 2014 and hopes to inculcate a greater sense of ownership among students in managing common spaces and help them appreciate the school's cleaners.

Second-year student Ng Xin Jie helped the workers clean toilets, among other areas, last year. The 18-year-old now appreciates the school cleaners more than before.

"It is not an easy job and can be quite tiring. The experience was humbling and helped us appreciate the people we rely on to clean up after us," she said.

A separate day is also set aside to appreciate the cleaners, with students preparing handmade cards, gifts and simple food items, like cakes, for them.

Operations support officer Roslina Mohd Yasin, 52, who has worked at TPJC for the past 13 years, said a clean classroom is a more conducive environment for students.

"Previously, students were very messy and would leave litter lying around. Now, they will help to clean up, and the school is much cleaner," she said.

All TPJC students also spend the last five minutes of each lesson cleaning. This includes wiping the whiteboard and arranging the classroom furniture.

Ms Pamela Yoong, the school's principal, said: "Our students move from venue to venue. That's why we ask them to clean up each time they finish at a venue. The message is to leave the place better than before for the next user."

The school hopes that through these activities, students will learn good habits, such as picking up after themselves, from a young age.

On the daily cleaning between lessons, Xin Jie said: "Initially, I thought it was a waste of time, as that five minutes could be used for learning.

"But we are responsible for our shared spaces. If everyone does their part, then it would lessen the burden on the cleaning aunties and uncles."

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2017, with the headline 'JC students ensure shared spaces are kept clean'. Print Edition | Subscribe