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I am a Practitioner of 'The 7e Way of Leaders' where a Leader will Envision, Enable (ASK for TOP D), Empower, Execute, Energize, and Evolve grounded on ETHICS!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Daily Lessos from Life 09 January 2016 - Should Teachers be Charged for Parking at Schools?

This is my response to the News that MOE is considering IF it should 'charge teachers for parking their cars in the school compounds' in the Straits Times Forum:

Dear ST

This issue arises out of Auditor-General Office, which has been doing a fantastic job of uncovering 'lapses of prudence and good safeguard on the use of State's resources' in the public sector, highlighting the need to use State's assets properly, and in a commercially logical manner, so that the nation's treasury does not lose out. e.g. the need to charge 'market rate' at ITE and TP.

I agreed while at the same time, I submit that 'commercially logical manner' needs to be applied with GOOD SENSE. In this call to 'charge teachers who drive parking fee to park in the school compound' should be exempted because:

1. teaching is a vocation. Not a job! (many would argue otherwise and that is the core issue as we need to go back to the core of a teacher's role & responsibilities - and is another discussion altogether);

2. if we 'increase' the salaries of the teachers so that they can pay for the 'newly imposed parking charges', it is creating redundancy and unproductive work! Not to mention how to deal with teachers that DON'T drive or own a car?;

Quote: "
Mr Phang Fook Ghay, 56, who wrote to The Straits Times' Forum Page about the issue, yesterday told The Straits Times: "How do we justify giving teachers this subsidy when other civil servants are not entitled to it?"
" Unquote

Mr Phang's sense of 'fairness' is worrisome as its application is: 'If I don't get the benefits, WHY should SOMEONE ELSE get it?'

Quote: "
Economist Donald Low said giving free parking is generally inefficient. The associate dean of research and executive education at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy said: "If teachers were given a cash subsidy instead of free parking, some may value the cash more and choose not to drive. This frees up space for other purposes.

"Just because parking is free doesn't mean it has no opportunity cost. What about the basketball court that could have been built if less space is given to a carpark?"


Economist Low's strict application of his economist's sense is ANOTHER WORRISOME sign. Supply vs. Demand. Commercial values. Opportunity Costs. All good and well BUT public education is NOT just ANY commercial or economic activities. Just like public transportation and public health.

IF ONLY market supply and demand RULED supreme, I shuddered to think about how these 3 KEY public services WILL COST!! It is SIMPLY UNSUSTAINABLE and potential DIVISIVE and cause for disunity of an already strained 'united people of Singapore'.

The 2 Acting Minister of MOE and their officers will review and decide on this issue.

My take is: Forget about charging carpark fee on the teachers who drive. Status quo as it is NOT worth the trouble.

The other reason is: with this ISSUE being in PUBLIC VIEW, once the decision is MADE by MOE, EVERYONE in Singapore will KNOW that IF you want to be a Teacher and if you own a car and drive, YOU WILL NOT be charged to park your car in the school compound.

That will REMOVE this fear that: MOE has favoured its teachers. YES?

Oh, one final question: Do we charge the MINDEF personnel who drive to work at the various army/navy/airforce/MINDEF offices and camps? LOL!!

Best regards
LU Keehong Mr.

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