Parking fees may indirectly affect students, stakeholders

Making teachers pay for parking at their schools will indirectly impact students and other stakeholders ("MOE reviewing free school parking"; Jan 8).

While the Auditor-General is right to ensure that all public-service organisations follow standard civil-service guidelines, these organisations must also be granted the flexibility to make adjustments based on different situations.

I offer the following points for the Ministry of Education's (MOE) consideration:

First, free parking is an expected benefit for most teachers, hence, it should not be viewed as a possible "hidden" subsidy.

Second, there are many reasons why teachers drive and park their cars at their schools, including their long and uncertain working hours, their need to be in school early (sometimes when public transport is not available), to transport schoolwork home for marking or to make urgent visits to students' homes.

Third, when teachers are made to pay carpark charges, will they still willingly stay back to help students after school hours?

Will the cost of engaging external coaches for co-curricular activities go up in line with the carpark fees?

Fourth, some members of parent support groups currently helping schools to organise events may decide not to help out if additional costs are involved.

Lastly, I understand that many army camps do not charge their staff for parking and this is unlikely to change, as the SAF faced a similar situation many years ago and only certain camps charge for parking now.

I hope the MOE will not be penny wise and pound foolish in deciding on this matter.

Leong Kok Seng