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A school assembly is a gathering of all or part of a school for any variety of purposes, such as special programs or communicating information on a daily or weekly basis. In some schools, students gather to perform a common song or prayer, and to receive common announcements. A routine attendance check may also be done in such gatherings. At larger schools, these morning rituals may be substituted by smaller classroom assemblies and announcements broadcast over a public address system. Periodic school assemblies are also a forum for special presenters of educational, health, or safety materials, or for school plays, talent shows, etc.
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The act of morning assembly is not new. In gurukula, all the students were used to gather, meditate and discuss the daily routine in those assemblies. An act of collective gathering and worship is decided to make a part of the assembly in England and it became a legal requirement in schools after it.
A usual school assembly may include prayer, news headline discussions from students, student talk and other important discussions.
Due to the number of students in a typical Chinese school, assemblies are normally held outdoors. It is common for the head of the school to address the entire student body for nearly an hour at the beginning of a school week or month.
School assemblies are usually held in school halls or in outdoor areas such as the school sports complex or basketball courts. School assemblies are held every week, usually on Mondays, where the students will sing the national, state and school anthem while raising the national flag, recite the Rukun Negara and hear reports, speeches and announcements from the school principal, teachers, prefects. Assemblies usually last for an hour. Schools also have smaller scale assemblies on every other day where students would gather in the hall before the start of their first class or when the first bell rings. Teachers and students often make quick and simple announcements for 15 minutes before sending the students in a queue to their classroom as schools in Malaysia uses the homeroom system. This small daily gathering also prevents students from playing truant as some class monitors take attendance when the students are in the hall, loitering around school before class starts and makes it easier to catch and punish those who are late for school (the cut off time for being late is often before class itself actually starts, hence students have to gather in the hall).
Assemblies are usually held outdoors for 20 minutes at least everyday. The teachers and students recite a common prayer. Special announcements are made and students present thought of the day, quiz, attendance is marked. Sometimes students present some skit and other cultural programmes.
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