What can we learn from the Japanese model of hygiene?
If you visit a Japanese school for the first time, you’ll probably be surprised at what you’ll see in the last minutes of the long school day.
After seven lessons each lasting 50 minutes you will see students eager to return home listening to their teacher while reviewing the details of tomorrow’s class schedule.
After that, the teacher distributes to them, as usual the cleaning tasks for that day.
The first and second grades should clean the same classroom while the third and fourth grades will clean the hallway and stairs while the fifth grade will clean the toilets.
Although some grumbling grumbled from the fifth grade specifically this did not prevent his students from getting up to take mops and buckets from the cleaning cupboard in the back of the class and lightly go to the toilets.
This scene is not limited to one school by the way it happens in all schools across Japan.
However, the majority of people visiting Japan for the first time are surprised by how clean they are.
To their surprise there are no garbage cans or sweepers on the streets which raises the question how can Japan then remain in such a state of extreme hygiene?
The simple answer is that it is because of its own citizens, who keep their homeland so clean.
Among them, Maiko Awani, who works in a senior management job says The cleaning time for the student is part of his daily schedule for 12 years from primary to secondary.
In our home lives, parents teach us that we cannot neglect to keep our things clean and where we are.”
The inclusion of this element of community awareness in the curriculum helps to develop students’ awareness of the things surrounding them and their pride as well.
So can you find someone who wants to scatter dirt in a school that he will have to clean himself afterwards?
Interpreter Chika Hayashi remembers his school days by saying
Sometimes I didn’t want to clean the school, but I did accept it because it was part of our routine. It is important for us to take responsibility for cleaning the things and places we use.
Among the rules that Japanese pupils adhere to when they arrive at school are to take off their shoes and leave them in closed drawers and to wear sneakers which is similar to what people do as they enter their homes leaving shoes at the door.
Even workers who come to this or that house to do some tasks take off their shoes and wander the rugs in their socks.
As students age, their perception of the nature of what constitutes their own space extends beyond mere class and includes the city’s neighborhood and then the nation.