In the name of SUPW
SUPW can never be fun if you can’t really comprehend its concept and its mechanism in the first place. Let’s accept this! There are sizable numbers of people who are unable to foresee its essence. And mind you! The projection of SUPW was poorly handled-poorly advertised then. Thus, people were bound to cramp it down to so called manual work that we do in the form of grass cutting, fencing, cleaning school campus-so on and so forth. Therefore, as an entity of school organization-teachers like us have tremendous responsibility to steer them towards understanding the concept of SUPW. And ofcourse, educated parents probing their kids towards understanding the essence of SUPW can be a plus point for the school as well as to the student.
Personally speaking-when I was student my understanding of SUPW in school was more of community services and school campus beautification- and bit of occasional cleaning here and there. There was no mass awareness-educative campaign pertaining to SUPW. Perhaps, many of my friends would too share the same sentiments about SUPW. However, the spirit of SUPW was upheld in the school gardens, uprooting marijuana around, grass cutting-cleaning lhakhangs etc.
During those days I did my SUPW not because I was motivated to embrace and respect the idea of blue collar job nor was I made to feel that sense of belongingness of one’s environment. Partially-yes there was this instinctive feeling of rendering yourself for social cause. Rather my notion of doing SUPW was largely motivated by grades-like-for getting “A” grade. As long as I was ensured by my teachers about the grade, I wouldn’t mind doing any manual work. But, if the teacher was simply assigning a task without the promise of awarding grade(Marks) then there would be a sudden change of mood towards the work. I felt like as if I was imposed. Thus, that sense of betrayal was felt and I would feel that I have wasted my time, energy-and the work was done for free (This realization was wrong!). The whole idea of SUPW looked like a business-make me work but give something in return. I will work if you give-that kind of belief grew strong and gradually the values like being selfless –sense of belongingness-volunteerism-collective responsibility to help-and the word, “Volunteerism” had to be with some benefits towards volunteers. Therefore, at times what we have intended-our cause with certain noble initiatives can simply turn otherwise.
We have core human values which SPUW can never equate-but yes-it can further strengthen. in fact SUPW is suppose be a stimulating factor for sustaining human values. And we have to understand that SUPW goes beyond those manual works which kids do in the schools. Exciting-School club activities and assignments-outdoor simple survey catering to their passion-hobbies can give the real meaning to SUPW. Intriguingly, monitoring kids’ activities during break by recording their services is timely and thoughtful.
But, sadly, SUPW is imagined as a bait to make kids do social services and it is becoming quite a challenge to make them appreciate the idea of having SUPW in the school arena.
Perhaps sitting together and finding a certain common definition, its characteristics and its mechanism-essence can help. Simply limiting SUPW to gardening, maintenance of furniture in the name promoting vocational skills and some other physical activities without making kids intellectually aware of why they are made to do SUPW can be futile for the kids in the future.
SUPW is here to stay and lets all stop for while and brood over it...