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Citizens not pacified by revelation that schools get to keep the parking fees from teachers

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In a written response on 9 July to a Parliamentary question filed by Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera regarding the estimated annual revenue derived from the imposition of parking fees for teachers in schools and junior colleges (JCs), Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung stated that the figures may range from S$8 million to S$10 million, according to Channel NewsAsia.

He added that the revenue generated will be retained by the schools.

Earlier in March, the Ministry of Education (MOE) confirmed that starting August, teachers will have to pay monthly season parking rates in order to be allowed to park their cars or motorcycles in schools and JCs.

During term time, the monthly season parking rate for cars is S$75 for an uncovered lot, and S$100 for a sheltered lot.

Meanwhile, the rate is lowered to S$15 and S$20 for an uncovered lot and sheltered lot respectively during school holidays.

The annual rate for parking in an uncovered lot is S$720, while that for a sheltered lot is S$960.

For motorcycles, the monthly season parking rate during term time is S$13 for an uncovered lot, and S$14 for a sheltered lot.

During the school holidays, the rates for uncovered and sheltered motorcycle lots are S$2 and S$3 respectively.

Annual parking rates for motorcycles are S$123 for uncovered lots and S$135 for sheltered lots.

Previously in 2016, the MOE announced that it was reviewing the car park policy for schools.

The announcement was made in light of the Audit-General's Office (AGO) 2014/2015 Financial Year report noted that the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Singapore Polytechnic, and Temasek Polytechnic either did not impose charges, or charged parking rates that were below the market rate.

"Such practices are tantamount to providing hidden subsidies for vehicle parking and are not in line with the requirements laid down in the Government Instruction Manuals," the AGO had said, according to Channel NewsAsia.

Since then, the MOE added, the Ministry had been collaborating with the Public Service Division and Ministry of Finance "to determine an appropriate treatment for staff parking in schools".

Several MPs have addressed the issue in the past few months.

In a Facebook post, the Workers’ Party’s Pritam Singh had said that he is against charging teachers for parking fees.

Mr Singh stated that “some public sector professions and services - and I count teachers among them - must always be seen in an elected government's eye through a lens that recognises their direct and indirect contributions to nation-building".

In a speech made during a debate on the President’s Address in May, MP for Marine Parade GRC Seah Kian Peng said that the decision was an "insult" to teachers who have invested their own resources for the benefit of their students.

"Not all government policy has a complete recourse to dollars and cents.

We need within our current structures to make more room for the lexicon of morality, duty, relationships and trust," he said in the speech, which has been shared widely online.

This prompted Mr Ong to respond to the comments circulating around the issue not long after that.

In a Facebook post only a few days later, he defended the MOE’s announcement, stating that charging parking fees at schools lies in the aim to inculcate the value of self-discipline amongst staff.

"We have to respect our internal system of checks and balances,” he wrote.

“We cannot pick and choose which finding to address or comply with – we take them all seriously. This is about upholding the value of........

© The Online Citizen