Our university had a cleanup competition today. Some may find this strange but every student had to participate in this competition or suffer the effects on his or her conduct grade.
Personally, I have no problems cleaning sections of the school that I have to use, strange as it is that university students are expected to take garbage to the garbage dump. There is some good to be had from it if the purpose is properly communicated to the students, something that I think the education system in Taiwan has failed to do.
Students do this from elementary school so that they can “learn to be responsible”, I am told. However, at this Ming Chuan University, it is not uncommon to walk into a classroom and see the food containers that students used strewn all over the floor. There have been many instances when our psychology teacher, Dr. Eva Salazar, came to our class and sweep trash from the floor even after other students had arrived before her — so much for education without change of behaviour.
I don’t know what obtains at other universities as far as students taking bags of trash to the dump and cleaning the classroom (which by the way, does not include sweeping) is concerned. However, I have been told by students of at least two public universities, where tuition is a lot lower, that that is not the case there.
“If my university had asked me to take out the trash I would have,” said Kim Douglas who recently graduated from a public university here. They are offering cheap education for all as Confucius teaches. But Ming Chuan University cannot mix capitalism and Confucianism.”
At the privately owned Ming Chuan University, tuition stands at 54, 000 New Taiwan Dollars (US$1, 6 87/EC$4, 387) a semester. That is twice the tuition at some public universities. In fact, I have two friends studying at a public university and their tuition combined is less than mine.
Though I was against the cleaning competition, since I think that it does not serve the purpose for which it and having the students take out the trash was intention, I participated because I am a part of the class.
I also asked some of my schoolmates for their views on the cleaning event.
Our group of cleaners included Journalism and Mass Communication and International Students of the International College. And after cleaning we took time out to pose for a photo.