In association with Karcher India and Don Bosco Pvt ITI (Kokar), the School of Dignity organised its first Dignity Meet last month at the Don Bosco School, Ranchi. The School of Dignity (SOD) is an Academy of Cleaning Sciences, founded by development sector professional Preyansi Mani and supported by an incubation CSR grant from Karcher International. It seeks to professionalise the commercial cleaning workforce by creating a network of young ‘SOD hygiene professionals’ who will lend a dignified professional identity to the industry.
The SOD offers five to six month-long Certificate Programs as well as industry-relevant modular courses that will professionally prepare potential as well as existing staff of facility management companies. Its courses are designed on the basis of four pillars: mechanised cleaning, cultivating emotional intelligence, academic competence and personal effectiveness. By providing industryrelevant curriculum, in-company training and placement support, SOD will cater to the needs of cleaning professionals across the spectrum. SOD will especially focus on training women, creating a pipeline of Dreamers (young aspirants in the industry), Doers (sourcing and capacitating existing workforce) and Outliers (special support measures for retaining and capacitating industry talent).
The objective of the Dignity Meet was to highlight how the cleaning industry is an indispensable, dignified and aspirational industry as against the stereotypical image of apathy, exploitation and indignity. The founding batch of young ‘Hygiene Professionals’ who have completed 90 days in the Facility Care and Hygiene Management Course after understanding the crucial aspects of mechanised and professional cleaning, were felicitated for successful completion of the course. They also showcased their learning through an exhibit on mechanised and professional cleaning put up by them.
The Chief Guest of the function was Dr Michael Feiner, Consul General (Kolkata), Federal Republic of Germany. Other dignitaries included Ruediger Schroeder, MD – Karcher India; Abu Imran, Mission Director – Swaccha Bharat Mission (Rural); C Prasad, Director – Vileda Professionals; and other dignitaries from partner organisations.
Dr Feiner said that the contribution of cleaning to society needs more recognition. He opined that “Qualification and skill development are also about self-worth”. He especially appreciated the curriculum and its emphasis on life-long learning, which is one of the foundations of the German education system. He also took an active part in the exhibit by taking a quiz that is a part of student’s modules.
Addressing the students, Feiner said that they should be proud of being pioneers and are great examples for their communities, families and parents. Schroeder emphasised that the cleaning industry is the biggest employer in the world; just like plumbing and other trades, the cleaning industry in Germany requires a three-year apprenticeship to become a skilled professional. He said, “If cleaning workers go on strike for even one day, people would understand what they are doing for us.”
Imran talked about the future of Artificial Intelligence in the cleaning industry, and how the eradication of informal cleaning practices lies in the use of technology. Industry spokespersons from Vileda Professionals and Radisson Blu Ranchi assured their support for students’ placements in the future.