SINGAPORE -The Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Tuesday (Jan 12) that it is still in the process of reviewing the carpark policy for schools.
The ministry asked members of the public to be patient, and sought their understanding as they "are taking the time to do this carefully".
There has been an online debate about whether teachers should be charged for parking their cars in schools since it was reported in the media that teachers at national schools and junior colleges face the prospect of having to pay car parking fees at their institutions.
The catalyst for the review is the Auditor-General's disapproval last year of some educational institutions allowing their staff to park for free or charging fees below the market rate.
Such practices "are tantamount to providing hidden subsidies for vehicle parking", the AG said in an annual report of financial lapses at public sector bodies.
The full statement from MOE, posted on Facebook on Tuesday, said: "There has been much online chatter on the review of free parking in schools. We understand the concerns raised and we are with you in appreciating the dedication and hard work by all our teachers.
"We seek your patience and understanding as we are still in the process of reviewing the carpark policy for schools, bearing in mind civil service guidelines and recent AGO observations. We are taking the time to do this carefully."
Those against charging teachers for parking argue that teachers need to drive as they work long hours and start early in the day.
Some also pointed out that teachers sometimes drive students to the doctor or the hospital. and many pay for classroom materials without being reimbursed.
Others contend that teachers should be subject to the same rules as other public servants. Almost all public service organisations, including MOE, charge for parking at their offices.
Some have even suggested that if this principle is to be applied to all Government bodies, then military camps and compounds under the Singapore Armed Forces should also charge for parking.
Read more about the debate on this issue at ST's Forum page.