Forum: My parents skimped to pay my school fees

A PSLE results slip.
A PSLE results slip.PHOTO: ST FILE

I hope the Ministry of Education (MOE) sticks to its longstanding practice to withhold original Primary School Leaving Examination results slips due to unpaid school fees in spite of the outcry from netizens and political activists capitalising on the situation.

In fact, MOE was gracious to have given the photocopy of the results slip to the child.

Let it be clear that it is the parents, who knew that school fees have to be paid, who inflicted shame on the child, and not MOE.

I believe MOE would have given enough leeway to the parents to pay the arrears but, for whatever reason, the parents did not.

MOE places great importance in ensuring every child receives mandatory, heavily subsidised education. There are also social outreach programmes that families can tap such as The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

As far as possible, students are placed in schools within 1km from their homes. But during the 60s and 70s, many students were posted to schools far away from their homes.

I was living in Chin Swee Road near Chinatown, but was posted to Teck Whye Secondary School in Bukit Panjang, about 20km away, instead of my choice of Outram Secondary School.

My poor parents skimped on basic essentials to pay my school fees, school bus fares and textbooks.

Growing up, it was our own responsibility and determination to get schooled. We did not have any sense of entitlement.

Priscilla Poh Beng Hoon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2019, with the headline 'My parents skimped to pay my school fees'. Print Edition | Subscribe