While it is the Ministry of Education's prerogative to impose a parking fee on teachers, I hope that it will consider other factors besides the sole reason stated in last Friday's report ("MOE reviewing free school parking"), namely, the Auditor- General's disapproval.
Although schools are public institutions, their carparks are not meant for public use in general, but for their staff and stakeholders who have legitimate reasons for using them.
The Auditor-General has no cause to talk about "market prices" since there is no issue of unfair competition faced by public carparks.
Also, the fees for parking in private carparks may vary, depending on location, so which "market price" should schools peg their parking fees to?
Moreover, it does not seem right that a parking fee is imposed for people who have reason to park in schools when car owners who park their cars overnight along roads near landed properties are not required to pay anything.
Furthermore, if it is finally decided that teachers are required to pay parking fees in their schools, it would only be right that schools' stakeholders - such as school advisory committee members, parents and guests who want to drive to and park in schools during school functions - pay the same rate as the teachers.
How will such a requirement for payment impact the attendance and participation of these important stakeholders in the schools' operations and activities?
Seong Then Yee
This article was first published on January 12, 2016.
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