Be flexible in applying school parking policy

I am glad that the recent move to introduce parking charges for school teachers has sparked strong reactions from the public (Parking fees for teachers to kick in from August; March 27).

It is comforting to know that the general public feel strong empathy for teachers and that most of us do not want to further burden them when their contributions to our children's development far exceed mere dollars and cents.

Being a nation with many innovative practices, it is sad when we are so quick to add further burdens to our already overburdened teachers.

Many teachers already contribute out of their own pockets to provide incentives for students and in finding numerous other ways to motivate them. They put in long hours after school, meeting parents and conducting extra classes.

Teachers need the convenience of their cars to attend meetings, workshops, co-curricular activities and other official events outside school.

Here is a golden opportunity for us to show our appreciation to teachers. Let us think creatively to get around the Public Service Division's guidelines for a "clean wage" policy.

School carparks are not meant for the public and are, instead, meant mainly for staff use.

Logically, they should not be subject to market rates. This is where flexibility can be applied.

There are always better and more respectful alternatives. We just need to think creatively and ensure that our teachers feel valued.

Vijayan Nambiar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2018, with the headline 'Be flexible in applying school parking policy'. Print Edition | Subscribe