Like clockwork, pupils at Xinmin Primary School drop their textbooks and pens, and pick up brooms, whiteboard dusters and other cleaning tools when a chime is played over the PA system five minutes before dismissal every day.
They busy themselves with arranging the classroom furniture, sweeping the floor, wiping the whiteboard and dusting the shelves.
Scenes like these are repeated throughout the island because all students from primary school to junior college now have to clean classrooms and corridors daily.
Students take part in cleaning after assembly in the morning, in between lessons, before or after their recess breaks, or at the end of the school day.
The aim is to help them cultivate good habits for life.
MOE had looked at similar practices from education systems in Japan and Taiwan, where cleaning the school compound is a daily routine for students.
The ministry has since received positive feedback from the schools, parents and students.
“Feedback has shown that the cleaning activities have helped to inculcate values such as a sense of responsibility and consideration for others,” said an MOE spokesman. “Through these activities, students also cultivate good life habits both in school and at home.”
Educators also lauded the move.
Mr A. Sivam Reddy, principal of Xinmin Primary, said implementing such activities in all schools creates a common experience for this generation of students.
“This initiative also puts all students, regardless of social status or wealth, on an equal footing.”