Don't make dedicated teachers feel short-changed

ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

It is strange that the Auditor-General's Office considers free parking in schools a hidden subsidy or perk for teachers (Parking fees for teachers to kick in from August; March 27).

This latest move by the Ministry of Education (MOE), in the name of a "clean wage" policy, does a disservice to the dedicated teachers in our educational institutions.

The Public Service Division's directive that employees' salaries should contain no hidden benefits has to cut both ways.

This means that teachers should, from August, no longer be encumbered with non-teaching duties and assignments outside school hours as MOE must not benefit from staff working beyond their stipulated hours.

If such responsibilities are deemed necessary, our teachers must be paid overtime or be given a day off in lieu.

It is common knowledge that teachers often take work home to grade, carry out research and plan the following day's lessons as well as respond to telephone calls, text messages or e-mails from parents.

Will MOE compensate teachers for the phone and Internet charges incurred while working from home?

Devoted teachers have been known to dig deep into their own pockets to spur weaker students to greater heights. Forking out for prizes, treats and cards to encourage and reward students for their efforts may soon be a thing of the past, as some teachers may feel unappreciated and taken for granted.

Schools may soon see an end to supplementary classes after official hours and especially during the school holidays.

The ultimate losers will be our own children.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock