Hwa Chong Is One Of The Few Schools That Owns The Land It Sits On
A week ago, media reports shed light on a brewing conundrum that Hwa Chong Institution (HCI)’s teachers faced: was it fair for them to pay parking fees?
After all, the majority of the independent school’s teaching body are hired by the school’s parent company, the Singapore Chinese High School.
This means that they are not civil servants and should technically be exempt from the Ministry of Education’s new policy on parking fees in schools.
So it’s no surprise that most HCI teachers who drove felt that MOE’s policy was unfair on them.
To voice their staff’s concerns, the Singapore Chinese High School met representatives from MOE on Wednesday (18 Apr).
And after two quick hours, they emerged with a workable solution.
Thankfully, it’s one that appears to appease both parties.
An end in sight
Instead of having to pay out of their own pocket, the parking fees will instead be deducted from teachers’ professional development accounts.
Set up by HCI, these accounts are earmarked for use on teaching essentials like laptops and books. As its namesake suggests, funds can also be used for professional development.
Kind of like an Edusave or PSEA account, but for teachers.
The Straits Times (ST) reports that HCI tops up these accounts yearly.
These annual top-ups are worth at least $800.
They are disbursed to staff members who have served for at least 1 year.
Sounds like a win-win, right?
We don’t get angry, we stay angry!
Well, not to some netizens.
Just as the initial announcement on parking fees was met with much public outcry, the joint verdict between MOE and HCI attracted no shortage of criticism.
Never mind that the Singapore Chinese High School owns the land its schools are built on.
Them working out a special deal is surely a sign of elitism and favouritism.
In case it wasn’t clear, the comment above is what sarcasm looks like.
Then again, we can’t put too much blame on the commenters this time.
After all, the accompanying ST article is premium.
A true Singaporean never lets something as trivial as ‘the facts’ get in the way of their morally justified outrage. Everyone knows that.
As always, there were some netizens who were able to apply a more objective and rational view of things, given HCI’s unique status of land ownership.
Much ado about nothing
Just like the case of the Caltex pump attendant, it seems that once again, netizens have reached conclusions reached without prior fact-checking, instead hopping on prejudice and stereotypes.
Despite their negative reactions, at least there’s some reason to cheer: our hope for a workable solution seems to have been realised.
For the public servants (and private hires) that educate our next generation, this is probably as close to a win as they’re going to get with this whole situation.
Featured image from Che Jian on Facebook.