SINGAPORE: An estimated S$8 million to S$10 million could be collected annually from parking fees imposed on teachers at 360 primary and secondary schools, as well as junior colleges, said Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung on Monday (Jul 9).
The revenue generated, he added, will be retained by the schools.
The minister said this in a written response to a Parliamentary question filed by Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera. Mr Perera had asked about the estimated annual revenue derived from the imposition of parking fees for teachers in schools.
The Education Ministry confirmed in March that teachers will have to pay monthly season parking rates to park their cars or motorcycles at schools from August.
During the school term, the monthly season parking rate for cars is S$75 for an uncovered lot and S$100 for a sheltered lot.
During the school holidays, the rate is lowered to S$15 and S$20 for an uncovered lot and sheltered lot, respectively.
The annual rate for parking in an uncovered lot is S$720 while that for a sheltered lot is S$960.
For motorcycles, the monthly season parking rate during the school term is S$13 for an uncovered lot and S$14 for a sheltered lot. During the school holidays, the rates for uncovered and sheltered lots are S$2 and S$3 respectively. For the full year, it costs S$123 for uncovered lots and S$135 for sheltered lots.
MOE had first said in 2016 that it was reviewing the car park policy for schools, after the Audit-General's Office (AGO) 2014/2015 Financial Year report noted that the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic did not impose charges or had charges that were below the market rate.
"Such practices are tantamount to providing hidden subsidies for vehicle parking and are not in line with the requirements laid down in the Government Instruction Manuals," the AGO had said.
MOE said that since then, it has been working with the Public Service Division and Ministry of Finance "to determine an appropriate treatment for staff parking in schools".
Over the past few months, several MPs have spoken up about the issue.
In a Facebook post, the Workers’ Party’s Pritam Singh had said that he is against charging teachers for parking fees.
"Some public sector professions and services - and I count teachers among them - must always be seen in an elected government's eye through a lens that recognises their direct and indirect contributions to nation-building," he said.
Meanwhile, in a speech made during the debate on the President’s Address in May, MP for Marine Parade GRC Seah Kian Peng said that the decision was an "insult" to teachers who have forked out their own money and time for their students' benefit.
"Not all government policy has a complete recourse to dollars and cents. We need within our current structures to make more room for the lexicon of morality, duty, relationships and trust," he said in the speech, which has been shared widely online.
This prompted Mr Ong to make a Facebook post a few days later, where he said that charging parking fees at schools is about upholding the value of self-discipline.
"We have to respect our internal system of checks and balances,” he said in the post. “We cannot pick and choose which finding to address or comply with – we take them all seriously. This is about upholding the value of self-discipline."