Japanese public schools do not employ janitors. Their education system believes that getting students to clean the school themselves teaches respect and responsibility. Therefore in Japan, there's a long tradition of students cleaning their own schools.
One of the more intriguing results of making students responsible for maintaining a clean school is that with no janitors to clean up after them, students in Japan do not learn to look down on janitors and custodians. They believe cleaning to be a duty held by all. By having students clean schools themselves from a young age, students do not see themselves as “above” such work. They also believe that it even emphasizes equality.
Casual school littering is something that is much rarer in Japanese schools. This creates a culture of ‘clean being the norm’. Leaving behind a mess is a sign of disrespect to fellow students. Cleaning time is also seen as conversation time with friends so it’s not considered a boring chore like well...most places!
Many Hands Make Work Light
Each day before P.E., students at the private prep school report for 10 minutes of "clean-up" duty in their assigned areas. While some parents might balk at the idea of a school taking time away from class to make students push a broom, educators at both ATI and Brentwood both say that parents have shown overwhelming support.
If anything, according to staff, parents want to know how to get their kids to clean their room at home as well as they do at school.
For 30 minutes after lunch, students sweep, mop, take out the trash and even clean the bathrooms — but responsibilities rotate so no one is stuck scrubbing toilets more than two or three times a year.
In an article on The Atlantic, a comment said:
Ten year old children can mop, wipe down surfaces. Twelve year old children can stack chairs in the cafeteria, clean the cafeteria, etc. Fourteen year old children can learn about basic plumbing and repairs, and can then maintain the basic plumbing and repairing. Sixteen year olds can learn basic electrical work, and can have their work supervised and inspected - in the process they learn some skills. Juniors at vocational schools show this to be absolutely true. Perhaps if you saw a workforce that didn't consist of only nine year olds playing with high voltage and hydrochloric acid, you'd realize how practical this idea actually is. At fourteen years old supervised children are fully capable of doing a surprisingly large number of mechanical and physical tasks. They do this on farms all the time. By 16 these kids could have learned any number of skills useful in their later lives. Clearly it's better for 12 year old kids to eat junk food while cruising on Facebook, right?
Children in Japan learn preparedness at an early age. In kindergarten they are taught to fold their jackets properly and always have tissue in one pocket and a handkerchief in the other. In grade school they learn to have three sharpened pencils in their desk---not four, not two---and always have glue, rulers and erasers close at hand in their pencil boxes. Elementary school students change into slippers when they arrive at school and put their shoes on special shelves. They all carry the same kind of correct backpack and are informed of the one correct way to adjust its straps.
Think you are under pressure?
At the end of high school a single test decides a student's future. A student gets to choose one college he/she wants to go to. That college has a certain score requirement. If he/she don't reach that score they probably don't go to college, and what college thy go to decides their future fate and salary as well, much more than it does in our country. But, the stress doesn't only come from the test itself. The preparation for the test is much worse. Often starting from elementary school a child will begin going to juku, or "cram school." This is school after school with the goal of getting a student into a better middle school. If he/she can get into a better middle school, then they go to more juku so that they can get into a better high school. A better high school means a better opportunity to get a higher score on the college entrance examination. No wonder it's lovingly nicknamed the "hell test."
Despite this, Japanese students (and Japanese society on a whole) are able to handle extreme amounts of stress. The stress a Japanese person deals with on a day-to-day basis is even infamous throughout the first world. Interestingly, this extreme stress is a sign. It hints at why the Japanese education system is successful, though in a very indirect way.
What can be taken from this post?
No education system is perfect, hence the intention of this post is not to bring out the shortcomings of our education system. Understanding other education systems gives us a perspective, an opportunity to understand our society better. The idea of not employing janitors for examples, may receive mixed reactions. But at the end of the day, the "crazy" idea might make some sense when given some serious thoughts.
Content Source: .npr.org, factsanddetails.com, Tofugu.
Let's welcome the new ways of learning!
Step up your learning with HashLearn Now. Try it out today!
We love feedback. Write to us, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.