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MOE to deploy 25,000 air purifiers to primary, secondary schools

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

MOE to deploy 25,000 air purifiers to primary, secondary schools

A student outside Clementi Primary School on Sept 25, 2015. Photo: Ernest Chua/TODAY

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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