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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Teachers and Their Parking

I was in 2 minds about whether to write this post. Since the new MOE Minister (for schools) took over, MOE seems to have gone completely deaf to parent feedback again. It has gone back to the "I am so clever that I know best what to do" attitude again, importing the latest methods and technology from Harvard, USA (and talking about highfalutin innovation) etc... without really examining issues from First Principles...
- local teachers' needs
- local children's needs

It does look at local workforce needs but unless these are seamlessly integrated to teachers and children's needs, the whole system is just going to limp along with aches and pains everywhere.

Do you wonder that SIA pilots get to fly Business Class (sometimes even 1st Class) for free? It is called a Staff Benefit and it is a clever Staff Benefit. Other companies who want their staff to fly First Class need to pay SIA its costs and profits. SIA can fly its own staff at cost.

So, it makes sense to offer free First Class holiday flights to anywhere in the world (as staff benefits) to pilots and their families. especially since there are almost always unoccupied seats in First Class.

Schools have always had ample parking spaces to cater to possible PTA days and events where large numbers of parents are invited. It doesn't cost schools a lot to let their Teachers use these lots for free the rest of the year. Surely Teachers deserve Staff Benefits?

Surely, it is clever HR practice (to attract and retain staff) to provide a Staff benefit that is...
- unique
- not costly to the organisation
Free parking for Teachers happens to be Unique and Not More Costly to MOE.

I wonder why no one begrudges the pilots their free First Class holiday flights. Are pilots worth more than Teachers? Or are Teachers just a community of people so cowed by MOE (and so disrespected by the public) that everyone gets step all over them in practically every way...
- HUGE classes (not conducive to teaching thinking skills)
- heavy admin workload
- guard duty
- baby-sitting duty
- little protection from parent abuse
... and now, must pay for parking.

It isn't as if Teachers earn mini-fortunes. The majority of them do not drive to work anyway. This really smacks of exploitation, in the same way the Lords of the feudal system squeezed their peasants dry, for them to farm on lordly lands.

How much more money will MOE make anyway from those few who do drive? How much more will it cost to implement and maintain parking machines in all the schools? And perhaps, to recoup the costs of installing and maintaining these machines, the schools will be forced to let the public park in the schools (given that parking space in schools is often under utilised)?

Then what about school security?

It really is already so shameful that classes are so large that Teachers cannot teach as properly as they want to (and thus parents have to buy tuition)... and now we are squeezing Teachers for parking? To what extent will MOE go to save money and transfer costs (to parents for tuition and teachers for parking)?

Just consider it a staff benefit that only Teachers get, and let Teachers feel special for once, in the way that policy treats them. Those who think with their heads forget to feel with their hearts. Most Teachers don't drive anyway but they aspire to. Take this away and you take away hope.

Most Teachers spend more on school supplies and gifts for their students. So, it really is not money. They view free parking as a sort of emotional get-back... a special something that only MOE can give, and it has been giving all these years. Take this away and you re-set the employer-employee relationship to a purely transactional one. I give you your pay and you work. This is at odds with the profession of caring. The last of the gotong-royong spirit will evaporate into ether.

The emotional response is NOT objective.

1 comment:

i-run said...

Thank you for writing this post.I totally agree with you. I suspect they will treat is as a staff benefit. However, such staff benefits may become taxable. There may still be a very small financial impact depending on which income bracket they fall under.