Look beyond money on parking

It was with disappointment that I read that the Ministry of Education (MOE) is considering imposing carpark charges in school ("MOE reviewing free school parking"; last Friday).

There has been a lot of argument from readers and the rest of the public against this move ("Debate over free school parking"; last Saturday).

As one who has recently completed the A levels, I offer my perspective as a student.

Teaching is a thankless job. The work of teachers cannot be quantified or measured.

What they have given to their students far exceeds the financial compensation they receive.

I had teachers who went the extra mile for their students.

My mathematics teacher would come to school early in the morning just to conduct additional remedial sessions for us.

During my A-level year, my civics tutor bought notebooks for the entire class.

In each notebook, he penned for each of us a motivational quote.

Teachers are not just ordinary civil servants or company employees.

Their work is noble.

The sacrifices that every teacher makes to nurture Singapore's youth is something that few occupations can profess to have made.

Though it may make economic and financial sense to charge teachers for parking, to do so would be to imply that the work of our educators should be commodified.

We recently celebrated our jubilee year where we honoured the pioneers who built our nation.

We should honour the contributions of our teachers as well.

Whether free school parking is labelled as a "perk" or "privilege", it is, at its core, a tacit acknowledgement of the work our teachers have done for the nation.

Kevin Tan Kwan Wei, 19, full-time national serviceman

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2016, with the headline 'Look beyond money on parking'. Print Edition | Subscribe