All school classrooms to get air purifiers for hazy conditions

MOE will deploy about 25,000 air purifiers to all primary and secondary schools in Singapore by July this year, says Acting Minister for Education Ng Chee Meng.

Channel NewsAsia 27 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE: In preparation for future haze seasons, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will deploy air purifiers to all school classrooms, said Acting Minister for Education Ng Chee Meng on Wednesday (Jan 27).

In a written reply to a parliamentary question from MP Christopher de Souza, Mr Ng said MOE will send about 25,000 air purifiers to all primary and secondary schools in Singapore by July this year. Similarly, Voluntary Welfare Organisation-run special education schools and MOE Kindergartens will also have air purifiers, Mr Ng added.

Schools will be provided guidelines on the use of the air purifiers as well, he said.

The move comes after the completion of the haze management review, and the measures are to enhance the well-being of students and staff during a haze situation, said Mr Ng. The measures were introduced in consultation with the National Environment Agency and the Ministry of Health.

“This enhancement to haze management measures takes into account the unusually prolonged hazy season last year as a possible forerunner of future haze seasons,” he explained. The Pollutant Standards Index in Singapore reached unhealthy and hazardous levels in 2015, forcing primary and secondary schools to close for a day.

- CNA/xk


MOE to deploy 25,000 air purifiers to primary, secondary schools
ASYRAF KAMIL Today Online 27 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Education (MOE) will deploy about 25,000 air purifiers to all primary and secondary schools in Singapore by July 2016.

On top of that, special education schools run by voluntary welfare organisations and MOE kindergartens, which are guided by haze management measures taken by mainstream schools, will also be equipped with the air purifiers. All schools will be given guidelines on the use of the air purifiers.

Mr Ng Chee Meng, Acting Minister for Education (Schools), said in Parliament today (Jan 27) that the ministry’s move is to “further enhance the well-being of our students and staff (members) during a haze situation”. This was in reply to Member of Parliament Christopher de Souza, who asked whether the ministry would consider using portable airconditioners and air purifiers in school classrooms whenever the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading — which measures air quality — reaches the unhealthy range and beyond.

This new meaure in haze management comes in anticipation of future haze seasons, expected to happen in the third quarter of this year.

Since the prolonged haze season of 2015, parents have expressed concerns and have been asking for the use of such appliances in classrooms.

In an unprecedented move last year, the MOE closed all primary and secondary schools on Sep 25 as a precaution, when the PSI went above 300 and the air quality is considered hazardous. An O-level practical examination had to be postponed due to the school closures. Then, students sitting for their Primary School Leaving Examinations last year in the midst of the hazy season did it in enclosed spaces aided by air purifiers.

The roll-out of such appliances to the schools this year comes after a period of consultation among the MOE, the National Environment Agency and the Health Ministry.

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