Getting hands dirty to learn values

Getting hands dirty to learn values

Hougang Secondary School students are taught to make thank-you cards for cleaners, plant flowers in the school garden and paint the walls of toilets in the school bright yellow.

That is their way of demonstrating a sense of responsibility for communal spaces - something they learnt in character and citizenship education (CCE) class, said the school's CCE subject head, Mr Foo Yong Howe.

Mr Foo was sharing how CCE is being taught at Hougang Secondary during Tuesday's Teachers' Conference, a biennial gathering where teachers share experiences, ideas and projects.

More students will soon be able to take part in similar activities as those in Hougang Secondary.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was at the event at the Suntec convention centre, said that a Keep Singapore Clean Movement in Schools campaign will be launched soon.

He did not say when the movement will be launched, but said that the campaign will get students from primary and secondary schools, as well as those in junior colleges, to propose ideas on how to keep their schools and neighbourhoods clean.

"We want the students to... put their ideas into action and carry them out... so that good habits can be internalised," said Mr Heng.

The minister added that for students to become concerned citizens, they must first take ownership of communal spaces such as school compounds and neighbourhoods.

The cleanliness movement is an updated version of the Use Your Hands campaign started in 1976.

At the time, students were encouraged to get their hands dirty to help improve school fields and gardens, and to clean up their school buildings.

Mr Heng said that some parents had urged him to bring back elements of the old campaign to inculcate values in their children.

The education minister said: "I would like to see (our youth) become advocates for a cleaner and greener Singapore, and to take action."

This article was first published on June 5, 2014.
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