The Japanese practice of school cleaning
Read the article to find out how Japanese students help keep their schools clean.
This may come as a surprise to people from countries with strict child labor laws that prevent children from taking part in this kind of work. But for someone who grew up in Japan, it’s common knowledge that, as a student, one of your duties is to maintain the cleanliness in the shared spaces of your school. While the practice has picked up support in some alternative charter schools abroad (and recently, was made an official policy for all schools in Singapore), for a long time the custom of charging students with cleaning their school was quite unique to Japan.
At many schools across Japan, although teachers often participate loosely in the cleaning duties, the children are the ones who are chiefly responsible for cleaning up their classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, and outdoor areas. Often students form teams and are given areas to clean. Upon completing their task, the students are expected to report back to their teacher. Making sure that their learning area is spick-and-span is part of the daily routine.
In countries like the US, this is almost entirely unheard of. Most schools employ adult employees called “janitors” or “custodians” who may maintain school facilities during the day, but the majority of whose duties are performed after hours once the students have returned home. Cleaning staff may work with powerful chemicals, handle repairs, and even do simple plumbing fixes. In 2011, a presidential candidate suggested that the US do away with janitors and employ students to do the cleaning, an opinion that was met with much criticism.
In 2016, Singapore’s Ministry of Education created a new policy that would require all students from first grade to clean their schools. Though some schools already have their students do the cleaning, the new policy states that all students are required to tidy up the classroom, corridors, and school cafeteria. The toilets will still be cleaned by professional cleaning staff. Taiwan is another country that has a similar practice in its schools. Still, there are many countries around the world that use the janitor system in their schools.
This may be surprising to people from other countries. This is because many countries have strict child labor laws. Child labor laws stop young children from working. In Japan, everyone knows that students clean the shared areas in Japanese schools. Some charter schools abroad have students clean the school, too. Recently, Singapore said that all students must clean their schools. Still, for a long time Japan was the only country where all students clean.
At schools across Japan, teachers help clean a little, but the children are the ones who must clean up their classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, and outdoor areas. Often students make teams and are given areas to clean. Once students finish cleaning, they report back to their teacher. It is the students’ job to make sure that their school is clean and neat.
In countries like the US, students do not clean up the school. Most schools have cleaning staff called “janitors” who clean school facilities. The cleaning staff sometimes clean during the day, but they mostly work after the students have returned home. Cleaning staff work with powerful chemicals and even do simple plumbing fixes. In 2011, a presidential candidate said that the US should fire janitors and have students to do the cleaning. Many people disagreed with him.
In 2016, Singapore’s Ministry of Education created a new rule. The rule says that all students must clean their schools. Some schools already have their students clean up, but the new rule says that all students must clean up. Students will clean the classroom and many other shared areas. Cleaning staff will still clean the toilets. Taiwan is another country where students clean the school. Many countries around the world still use cleaning staff in their schools.
come as ~ ～となる
例：Her resignation came as a real surprise to us.
“come as no surprise”
“come as a shock”
“come as a relief”
grow up 育つ
使いこなす句動詞 “grow up”
pick up ~ ～を得る
使いこなす句動詞 “pick up”
charge (someone) with ~ （人）に～を課す
例：I was charged with finding a new supplier.
upon ~ ～にあたり
be expected to ~ ～することを要求される
例：As a child, I was expected to make my own bed in the morning.