Someone has to clean up, but it is not just about the cleaning.
Some schools in Japan have staff called yomushuji that don’t teach, also know as shuji for short. They have multiple duties, including serving as crossing guards at the end of a school day, yet their main job is cleaning and maintenance.
At a typical school in some parts of Japanese, a tradition called o-soji, usually starts after the lunch period and goes on for around 20 minutes, during which students enjoy recess. This practice doesn’t take place every day, but only about four days a week with a break on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The osoji, also known as big cleaning, happens on the last day of every semester. Here the cleaning continues for a more extended time while the public announcement system plays cheerful marching music entertaining classical music.
Every class is accountable for the cleanliness of their own classroom and two other places in the school, such as the library and the nurse’s office. A class is divided into smaller groups called ‘han’, to ensure that the work gets divided equally and the premises are kept clean.
It is not just the students who have to clean, but also the non-teaching staff in the school called yomushuji. They have to clean and maintain the school since it is their main duty. This initiative teaches children to respect their surroundings as well as learn the importance of cleanliness.
They also think this practice of cleaning helps in strengthening the bond between students of different age groups. Chiiki seiso is another cleaning activity students in grade three and above participate in. It is a neighborhood cleanup that is done thrice a year.
Some schools even allow fifth and sixth graders to clean toilets, while other schools let the shuji do it. Little children need role models, and it also helps the teenagers to think twice before littering.
Isn’t this such a great initiative? They are a role model to all of us. This practice is sure to make the world a better, cleaner place if taught from a young age.
Cleaning systems followed by the students in Japan help build their character and help transform them into model citizens. Keeping their school clean is a part of their life and culture.
Do you think that the Japanese students cleaning their own schools makes them more responsible citizens?
Their school hours are about six and a half hours.
Generally, kids have to be at school by 8:45 am. Schools finish around 3:15 pm, which makes their school hours about six and a half hours every day from Monday to Friday. However, many kids also attend after-school clubs, and many also go to juku (cram school) in the evening to do extra studying.
Featured image is a screenshot from the YouTube video.