Critics argue for inclusivity and norm-setting by involving all students in cleaning tasks.
The National Parent-Teacher Association’s (PIBG) suggestion to start cleaning duties with students who have disciplinary problems has sparked a range of reactions from netizens.
Critics argue for inclusivity and norm-setting by involving all students in cleaning tasks, while others highlight the potential discrimination and flawed implementation of the proposed approach.
Recently, PIBG president Mohamad Ali Hasan agreed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s suggestion that school students must be trained to clean toilets.
Mohamad Ali said schools should first start applying it to students with disciplinary problems.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, he said that the suggestion that students should be trained to clean their school toilets with the aim of educating them about cleanliness and looking after public assets is not out of the ordinary.
We strongly support it. Perhaps we can suggest that every class takes turns to clean toilets, surau and the corridor around their classrooms. In the old days, it was normal for students to be ordered to pick up trash from school fields, among others. Maybe as a start, naughty students and those who have disciplinary issues like bullying others can be ordered to do such social work like cleaning school toilets.PIBG president Mohamad Ali Hasan
While the proposal aimed to address discipline issues, critics argue that singling out specific students for such tasks may perpetuate negative associations and discrimination.
Twitter user @rainmaker_dom advocated for inclusivity, questioning the rationale behind restricting cleaning duties solely to students with disciplinary problems.
He believed that involving all students in cleaning activities would foster a norm of cleanliness and eliminate any perception that cleaning is solely associated with wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, Twitter user @aishrdy_ sarcastically responded to the proposal, pointing out the discriminatory nature of starting cleaning duties with students who have discipline issues.
She mentioned that in Japan, all students are required to participate in cleaning activities from an early age, suggesting that the proposal is flawed from the outset.
She also asserted that singling out students from the beginning implies a flawed approach and portrays an early judgment of these students as wrongdoers.
Meanwhile, speaking to Free Malaysia Today, Mak Chee Kin, Chairman of the Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education, expressed that many schools faced financial constraints in ensuring the cleanliness of their toilets due to the high costs involved.
He proposed that the Ministry of Education allocate dedicated funds to address this issue.
Mak also argued that expecting students to clean toilets was unrealistic, citing problems such as inadequate water supply and leakages in many schools.
He emphasized that dirty and malodorous toilets often resulted from the absence of water and malfunctioning flushing systems.
Mak highlighted an instance at a Melaka Form 6 college, where his PIBG operated, where significant expenditure was necessary to ensure adequate water supply for three toilets.
He further claimed that many students chose to avoid using the toilets altogether until they returned home after school.