Clean-ups in full swing at UAE schools ahead of first day

Clean-ups in full swing at UAE schools ahead of first day

Dubai - The normal process for most schools is to hire cleaning companies on a contractual basis.

By Sarwat Nasir

Published: Sat 31 Aug 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 31 Aug 2019, 3:19 PM

UAE schools are intensifying their cleaning operations ahead of the start of the new academic year next week. There are a total of 580 private schools with more than 793,290 students across the country, according to the Ministry of Education (MoE).

The normal process for most schools is to hire cleaning companies on a contractual basis. They do light cleaning during the summer months, and then deep-cleaning one or two weeks before school starts.

Brendon Fulton, principal of Taaleem's Dubai British School, told Khaleej Times: "The cleaners are in school throughout the holidays, as this is the time when they conduct deep-cleaning of all the classrooms and various school areas.

"They also work during the holidays to maintain cleanliness in the school, while building works are taking place. These are normally minor changes to classrooms and office areas and, sometimes, larger works, such as the addition of new facilities."

In the week leading up to the start of school, the cleaners shift their focus to the classroom environment, Fulton said.

"It's when they work on teacher requests for further cleaning and make 100 per cent sure that toilets, the canteen, the playgrounds and all sports facilities are hygienic and clean to the highest possible standards."

At all GEMS schools in the UAE, daily cleaning operations also continue throughout the holiday.

Paul Slater, vice-president of health, safety and environment at GEMS Education, said schools often operate summer camps over the break, so students are still present.

"It's vitally important that hygiene and cleanliness standards are maintained at all times," he said. On top of the daily cleaning routines, schools undergo a more thorough deep clean prior to re-opening. To manage this, GEMS Education uses a contracted specialist cleaning company to ensure that all of our schools are clean, hygienic and fit for use at all times."

The principal of Nord Anglia International School Dubai, Matthew Farthing, said it's important to create a safe, clean and healthy learning environment for children.

"While children should be able to make a mess and still learn, they shouldn't be learning in dirty environments. If they respect it as a clean environment, they would want to learn better and harder," he said.

His school also carries out everyday cleaning throughout the summer, which intensifies a week before the start of the school year.

Farthing added that while it's the school management's responsibility to ensure a clean and safe environment, it is also important to teach children a lesson on tidiness.

He used the Japanese school system as an example, where students are required to clean their classrooms after the end of lessons.

"There's a difference between keeping clean and keeping tidy. In Japanese school system, kids tidy up the whole environment, and I think that is wonderful," Farthing said. 

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