Teachers at all primary schools, secondary schools and junior colleges will have to start paying hundreds of dollars for parking at school premises from 1 Aug this year. Teachers speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity – since they are not authorised to publicly comment on such matters – said that this new policy was announced at staff briefings in various national schools this morning.
Reporters claim to have seen documents that show that teachers who drive cars will have to pay S$720 yearly for parking in uncovered lots and S$960 for covered lots, while motorcyclists will be charged S$123 annually for parking in uncovered lots and S$135 for covered lots.
The news comes after over a year of speculation that a school carpark policy review will cause teachers to pay fees for parking on school premises. Speculation arose after the Auditor-General Office’s (AGO) last year flagged the Institute of Technical Education and two polytechnics for not imposing parking charges, or charging below market rate, for use of their car parks.
Interestingly, the AGO report did not highlight our public schools for such lapses. The Ministry of Education (MOE) had said last year on the matter: “We understand the concerns raised and we are with you in appreciating the dedication and hard work by all our teachers. We seek your patience and understanding as we are still in the process of reviewing the carpark policy for schools, bearing in mind civil service guidelines and recent AGO observations. We are taking the time to do this carefully.”
The Ministry has yet to comment on the implementation of the carpark policy review, which was initiated as park of a “clean wage policy” that is meant to make any hidden perks and subsidies for teachers transparent.
Teachers, who join the ranks of staff at polytechnics and ITE who already pay for parking, argue that their circumstances differ from other civil servants. One secondary school teacher told reporters: “But the issue is, we’re unlike other civil servants where they can leave after their working hours end. We still have to cater to students needs such as extra lessons and CCAs. That means we have to stay back in the school longer than we want to.”
Another secondary school teacher said that the new annual charges are unfair since teachers may not necessarily be in school daily during the school holidays: “We don’t really come back every day, so what’s the point of paying?”
It is puzzling why MOE is not allowing school staff to park for free in the public schools that they work in anymore when MPs have reportedly parked at ‘authorised use only’ space to go for their walkabouts:
Government leaders have also stopped enforcement officers from issuing summons on roads where their car is parked illegally.
In one similar case recently, the Land Transport Authority confirmed that it did not penalise a car in President Halimah Yacob’s convoy, even though an enforcement officer can be seen having a word with her staff for flouting parking rules: