Volunteering is an important part of learning. Through volunteering, students gain new experiences and insights, improve their social and communication skills, and realize helping others is beneficial.
In Taiwan, every junior high student needs to do six hours of community service each semester in order to graduate and apply for high school. The government thinks through volunteering, students would learn to help others in need. However, because parents and teachers care more about scores than the actual service, students usually cheat on their volunteering hours. They are expected to volunteer to help the poor, children, or old people. However, most of them only participate in contests or help clean their school, which is not public at all. The result is, students do things or win prizes for “themselves”, but the school still grades it as “public service”.
The government should change this policy immediately. First of all, because students aren’t volunteering in a proper way, it’s wasting their time and students end up hating volunteering even more. To schools and parents, arranging their kids to do public service is tiring and annoying. This policy is totally a failure.
There are many ways to improve the situation. For example, we can go as a class so the teacher can help give instructions and establish the right idea of volunteering. Plus, when we go as a group, it doesn’t feel like doing work, it’s more like having fun and feels more relaxed. Also, schools should give information about “fun volunteering.” For example, volunteering at the zoo instead of working at the library. If students are happy with what they’re doing, they’ll be excited to go again. Another way is to encourage families to take their children to volunteer from a young age. This way, they’ll think that volunteering is a regular thing to do. When they need to do community service for schools, they won’t feel as tired and bored.
Volunteering is an important part of education, but the policies behind it are also important. If a policy connects volunteering directly to scores, then students will definitely cheat on it. When students don’t do community service the way they are expected and the way they should, it’s just a waste of time. The government should let people see how volunteering is beneficial instead of forcing them to do it by the law. This way, volunteering would become more significant and meaningful.