Should Children Be Taught Housekeeping at School?
Primary education is one of the most important parts of the education process. It is the school where people learn basic skills required for normal functioning in society: reading, writing, counting, and communicating and connecting with other people. On the other hand, there is a constant discussion on what should be considered as basic skills and whether the current school system really prepares a person for adult life. Teaching housekeeping is one of the controversial parts of this discussion.
Teaching housekeeping at school can be viewed from different perspectives. Some people view teaching and practicing housekeeping activities as a way to make children understand responsibility and duty. For example, certain Japanese schools make the students clean the classrooms and toilets for twenty minutes four days a week (Ong 1). It is a traditional Japanese practice that is aimed at not only teaching the students to “respect their surroundings,” (1) but also to be responsible and to work in a group regardless of social status or other dividing factors.
On the other hand, teaching housekeeping activities can be viewed as providing the students with important knowledge that will help them in their independent life. Returning to the example of Japan, it can be said that through performing cleaning activities almost daily, students will develop a habit to live in a clean environment that will be useful when they become responsible for cleaning their own house.
However, it is understandable that housekeeping is not limited to simply cleaning. It involves some other activities, such as cooking, decorating, etc. Considering the fact that some of the higher educational institutions propose housekeeping courses (“Certificate Course in Housekeeping”), learning to do such tasks at school could be a convenient measure since it would allow saving time in the university for those who feel the need to study housekeeping.
Speaking about the counterarguments, some may argue that housekeeping is physical work. Therefore, making housekeeping tasks compulsory at school may be considered a violation of children’s rights. There have already been some issues with using housekeeping as punishment in school (Lake 1). Considering this, it is important that housekeeping activities are an opportunity, rather than an obligation. Having housekeeping as an after-school activity or as an additional subject that can be chosen would allow avoiding possible legal issues connected with children performing housekeeping activities at school.
On the other hand, some may consider teaching housekeeping at school a useless task since it is something that the children may learn at home from their parents or relatives. For many school students, it can be true. However, there is always a possibility of a child not having a home environment that would allow them a chance of learning to housekeep. For such kids, the school may be the only way of learning these skills, and would be vital in their process of adapting to adult life. In the case of these children, by teaching housekeeping, the school can fulfill its primary task: preparing an individual for adult life.
Considering all of the arguments mentioned, it can be concluded that housekeeping has to be taught in school. However, it is also important that housekeeping is not a mandatory task for every child in the school. By making housekeeping an optional subject, it would be possible to teach those children that need this knowledge the most.
“Certificate Course in Housekeeping.” D. Y. Patil University, www.dypatil.edu/schools/hospitality-and-tourism/certificate-course-in-housekeeping-2/.
Lake, Hillary. “Students Forced to Clean Bathrooms, Pick Up Trash As Punishment.” ABC7 New York, 12 Mar. 2015, abc7ny.com/education/students-forced-to-clean-bathrooms-pick-up-trash-as-punishment/555673/.
Ong, Alexis. “Practice Teaches Young Japanese to Respect Environment.” The Straits Times, 29 Feb. 2016, www.straitstimes.com/singapore/practice-teaches-young-japanese-to-respect-environment.
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