Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sharing toilets is a silly idea!

I like to read the kind of silly ideas that our politicias back home come up with. These people do sometimes exhibit the most interesting forms of creativity. They tend to make decisions based on what they think/feel about something without actually having the capability to think/feel.

Before I go into my tirade, let me say that I used to attend schools where we rarely had functioning toilets. The toilet bowls were often stuck with of all kinds of excrement and would not flush. The water supply to the toilets was iffy and the sinks tended to flow straight onto the floor. Needless to say, the areas outside were sometimes 'mine fields' as desperate students had to let go somewhere.

So, now that the scene is set, let's look at what our wise leaders have to say. The Deputy Education Minister has said that he supports the idea of students and teachers sharing toilets to help maintain cleanliness in schools. "When they share the same toilets, teachers will know if there is any malfunction or if there is anything that needs to be done." Now, feel free to laugh yourself silly.

Firstly, it's not a teacher's duty to toilet train a child. It's a parent's duty to potty train their kids. It's also not their duty to clean up the student's waste. By sharing the toilets, he's suggesting that the teachers should now take on the duty of cleaners. Many schools out-source the cleaning of the school to private contractors. These contractors are responsible for ensuring that the toilets are maintained and upkept. A teacher's duty is to educate and teach, not to clean and do maintenance, which the contractors are paid to do.

Secondly, he says that, "The students will not dirty the toilets because they are aware that their teachers are also using them." Now, this suggests that the students have some weird fetish and like to play with their excrements. I doubt that this is true. The toilets become dirty because it is not well maintained. If the flush is broken or if there is no water supply, the students are unable to flush properly. Either way, it's the responsibility of the maintenance staff to check that things are working properly. If thing are not, they are responsible in effecting repairs and marking out clearly which toilets are 'out-of-order'.

Now, I'm kind of worried about the logic behind all this. Seeing that the minister announced this after a meeting with 200 contractors appointed to manage maintenance in schools. It's these very contractors who have the responsibility of ensuring that toilets are well maintained. I'm wondering who's idea it actually was to shift responsibility from the people paid to do it to the people who aren't paid to do it. Let's just hope that the minister can actually blame this silly idea on the greedy contractors.

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