KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (BERNAMA) — A specific syllabus that integrates toilet etiquette and the importance of maintaining the facility should be developed in schools, according to academicians.
An expert at the School of Human Resource Development and Psychology, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Prof Dr Siti Aisyah Panatik, said such a syllabus was necessary because so far, the existing subject that touches on toilet etiquette is only civic education, but it does not focus on toilet care.
“It is only taught in general. Some schools have posters on the toilet walls, but it is not enough. Specific and practical teaching is necessary.
“For example, teachers take pupils to visit the toilets at the beginning of school to increase concern and love for clean toilets. Start from the beginning so that they get used to keeping toilets clean and reminding each other to do so. Over time, this will turn into a habit,” she told Bernama.
At the same time, she hoped that the proposed syllabus would also emphasise the beautification of toilets and suggested that the Education Ministry organise a clean toilet campaign and give awards to schools with the cleanest and most beautiful toilets.
“This is to inspire schools, teachers, and pupils to always maintain the cleanliness and beauty of the toilets. To change a person’s attitude, we need to use behaviour modification method, and this can be implemented with rewards,” she said commenting on the issue of school toilet cleanliness.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim previously raised the issue of dirty school toilets, which he described as a never-ending problem. He said students need to be educated on hygiene aspects, including being trained to clean toilets as one of the aspects of learning.
Siti Aisyah, who is also a Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, said rules should be enforced against anyone who commits vandalism at school.
“Students and pupils should be encouraged to report any friends dirtying the toilet or committing vandalism, while parents should act as role models for their children by keeping their toilets clean at home.
“Corporate companies can contribute in building toilets, equipping them with suitable facilities and carrying out corporate social responsibility programmes by cleaning and beautifying school toilets,” she said and hoped that the allocation provided by the government for maintaining these facilities would not be misused by any quarters for financial gain.
Meanwhile, senior lecturer of the Faculty of Major Language Studies at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) Dr Hayati Ismail said the government has fulfilled its responsibility by providing schools with good infrastructure and low-maintenance toilets.
The next step would be to ensure that these facilities are well-maintained, she said, adding that the practice of cleaning toilets is not a new concept in the field of education.
She said in religious schools in Indonesia, students clean their toilets, while in Japan, cleanliness is the first aspect cultivated in schools.
“There is nothing wrong with educating children to clean toilets, classrooms and school premises, as schools are like their second home. Just as they take care of the cleanliness and beauty of their homes, it is equally important to maintain their schools and communities.
“In addition, the funds for facility maintenance can be shared among stakeholders, including parents, the community and the private sector, to create a sense of belonging towards the school.
“This is in line with Shift 9 of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, which encourages the involvement of these three parties in creating a learning ecosystem and nurturing noble values in leaders of the future generations,” she said.