When I was a student, classroom cleaning was part of the daily schedule. Every class had aand each student specific such as , cleaning the board and .
Ithe was an one. So I was surprised when the Ministry of Education recently announced that daily cleaning by students would be introduced in all schools. The was "to in students a sense of responsibility and good life habits." The ministry had looked at similar practices in Japanese and Taiwanese schools, where students clean the every day.
I wondered when this practice had ended in Singapore. Whyschools it in the first place?
More surprising still were some parents' reactions to the news. While most of those interviewed welcomed the ministry's move, some had. Would their kids be too tired with the "extra" cleaning duties? Would the time taken up for cleaning be "better spent" on studying? (Never mind that cleaning was just five to 10 minutes a day, and the students don't even have to clean the toilets.)
, many Singaporean kids no longer do because they have helpers, usually young women from the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. My educator friends shared horror stories of how they see young people who are as with a as they a smartphone. Some kids have never washed a single bowl or plate. When they want a drink at home, they don't even have to lift a single finger. Their helpers are the ones who pour them the drinks and in some cases, tie their for them.
One of the moststories I heard was from a friend who leads boy scouts on camps. A teenage scout recently for an outdoor camp in the forest with a , which hadn't even been packed by himself. His helper had done it.
"Young people these days need to toughen up," my friend. "They're just too !"
I suppose every generation says this of the next generation. But I can'tthe feeling that Singaporean kids may indeed be too . Perhaps we've become so obsessed with academic results that cleaning up after oneself is no longer seen as necessary. Moreover, the monthly for a stay-in helper is usually just a few hundred Singaporean dollars (SG$100 = ¥8,280), something many families can .
"Singaporeans are rich!" Myfrom Japan had said when I told her Singaporean schools cleaners and students don't have to clean the toilets. I wish we were indeed rich — rich enough in heart and spirit to pay our cleaners and helpers better wages, and to clean up after ourselves.
The Japan Times ST: April 8, 2016