Students Taking Ownership And Play a Part in Keeping Singapore Clean

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Launch of the Keep Singapore Clean Movement in Schools as part of Character and Citizenship Education

The Keep Singapore Clean Movement in Schools1, a student-driven and school-supported effort for students to take ownership of the cleanliness of their school and the environment, was launched by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat at Woodgrove Secondary School on 29 July 2014.

Through Character and Citizenship Education (CCE), students learn about the values of responsibility and care. The Keep Singapore Clean Movement in Schools will allow students to put these values into practice - to be responsible for keeping the places they frequent clean, such as the classroom, the school compound, or common areas in the neighbourhood, and thus show care for the people living and working around them. Schools will be supported by the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) in this movement.

Several schools already have students adopting spaces within the school that they are committed to keep clean. Marsiling Primary School students are responsible for the cleanliness of their own classroom and common areas in the school. Schools like Endeavour Primary School are using cleaning routines to instil good hygiene habits in their students. Some schools have also adopted public spaces, for instance, Damai Secondary School, where students keep the waterways clean.

With the launch of the Keep Singapore Clean Movement in Schools, schools will be coming on board, giving their students the chance to propose ideas to keep the school and neighbourhood clean, put their ideas into action and carry them out on a sustained basis to cultivate good habits. Mr Heng Swee Keat said, “Through the Keep Singapore Clean Movement in Schools, students can learn to take ownership of our community spaces and our Singapore. Students can become role models and advocates of a clean Singapore to their classmates, family members and people in the community. It will help our students develop empathy and responsibility, a sense of belonging and commitment to the community, and a deep understanding of our interdependence.”

Values in Action (VIA)

The Keep Singapore Clean Movement in Schools will be part of Values in Action (VIA) in schools. VIA is a hands-on learning experience integral to CCE. Students develop a sense of social responsibility through identifying community spaces they are concerned about and brainstorm practical ways in which they and the community can keep such spaces clean. They will carry out their projects, reflect on the outcomes and keep improving their efforts. There will be a showcase of schools’ efforts at the National Environment Agency’s Clean and Green Singapore Schools Carnival in November 2014.

There are three ways students can contribute in VIA:

  • Action - Students take action to improve a situation they care about.
  • Awareness - Students raise awareness so that others may learn about an important issue or concern in the community.
  • Advocacy - Students inspire or influence others to make a difference.
Family Time

A key feature of the new CCE curriculum for primary schools is the Family Time segment. Family Time reinforces what is taught in school at home through suggested activities for parents and children to carry out together. Some of these suggestions involve families talking about how they can make a contribution to the cleanliness of Singapore. For example, on a visit to the park together, parents could discuss with their child how he / she could play a part to keep the park clean and green so that everyone can enjoy it.

Partnership with the Public Hygiene Council (PHC)

The PHC will support schools in implementing the Keep Singapore Clean Movement in Schools by providing various resources, as well as advice on areas which could be potential littering hotspots. Litter-picking toolkits will also be available for schools. These toolkits, comprising tongs, gloves and other equipment, can be used to support various cleanliness-related projects proposed by the students. All schools have received a PHC “Bright Spots for Schools” Guide in July 2014 to kick-start their efforts and help them understand how spaces can be transformed into Bright Spots.

In 2015, the PHC will also be providing every Primary 4 student with a checklist to reflect on their habits and how these affect the cleanliness of the environment as part of the Family Time activities. Every Primary 5 student will also be given a postcard for them to write to their Primary 1 to Primary 4 juniors and encourage them to practise good habits that demonstrate care for the environment. These resources will help students advocate a caring and responsible Singapore.

Mr Liak Teng Lit, Chairman of the PHC, said, “Keeping Singapore clean requires a concerted effort from all. With the strong support from the students and their parents, I believe we are a step closer to being a truly clean Singapore, not just a cleaned one.”

Footnote
  1. This was first mentioned by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat at the 7th Teachers’ Conference on 3 June 2014.
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