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Opinion

Thursday, 12 July 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

PM’s call for exemplary leadership

BRAVO, one of our ministers, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman whose act of spontaneously picking up rubbish left behind by football fans at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium after the FA Cup final, has displayed leadership by example.

It would be good if other ministers and their deputies and everyone who holds positions of leadership follow his example in view of the positive ramifications it has on the public to remind them to keep our environment clean.

Coincidentally, the Prime Minister has requested all of us to display exemplary leadership, “Leadership by example” (The Star, July 11).

The school should be the first target in instilling exemplary leadership. The Education Minister should start the ball rolling by requesting school heads and teachers to keep their school compounds and classrooms clean.

Yes, make it part of the school education and curriculum for the pupils – as every individual is a leader – to learn to keep their surroundings clean.

Currently, schools have class duty rosters to sweep the floor, wipe the black or white board and empty the wastepaper baskets in the classroom.

Unfortunately, the corridors and compounds are left to the general workers and toilets to the janitors

To have an effective impact on the pupils, I believe it is necessary to get them to be responsible for keeping these places clean.

For instance, the school compound could be divided into zones for respective classes or clubs and societies to keep clean and maintain. These activities would make the students love their environment and refrain from making them dirty.

Moreover, all students regardless of social status or race would be working together to keep the school compounds and washrooms clean.

Of course, if the school authorities can get the teachers to help, all the cleaning work could be done in less than 15 minutes (based on my experience as a principal).

Parents, through the Parent-Teacher Association, can also volunteer their services in the spirit of gotong royong.

In fact, these activities were successfully carried out in the 70s and 80s until, for some inexplicable reason, some parents objected vehemently at seeing their children doing manual and menial work instead of studying.

If time is the constraint, these mass cleaning activities could be done once or twice a week after the morning assembly for morning sessions and before dismissal for afternoon sessions.

The ultimate objective is of course to promote teamwork in the spirit of camaraderie and to feel the sense of pride in keeping their surroundings clean.

The logic is simple: if you are using a particular space, it is your duty and responsibility to ensure that you leave that space clean. This is an important responsibility and life skill our children must learn so that they can be self-reliant and would not have to depend on maids or foreign workers.

The Education Ministry should inculcate these values and virtues in pupils. In essence, this is recognised as a holistic and practical education which they cannot learn from textbooks.

THOMAS KOK

Ipoh