SINGAPORE: Parking gantries using the electronic parking system will not be available in schools in order to “keep administrative workload and implementation costs low”, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said, even as questions were asked whether the monthly season parking directive applies to co-curricular activities (CCA) coaches and instructors.
A ministry spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia that all staff who use a regular parking lot on school premises are required to pay season parking and, for parity, this applies to others whose dedicated workplace is on school premises and require a parking lot, such as bookshop and canteen vendors.
“Likewise, any other commercial parties, including CCA coaches and instructors, who wish to be given assured parking access to park regularly in schools would also be required to pay for season parking,” the spokesperson said.
“This is implemented across all schools.”
The MOE spokesperson also said schools will ensure the season parking holders and visitors keep to their designated parking lots. Parking decals will be issued to the former for “easier identification of vehicles”, he added.
Responding to the question on how season parking will be operationalised, MOE explained that "pro-rated and short-term parking rates, administered through methods such as parking gantries with electronic parking system, are currently not available in schools to keep administrative workload and implementation costs low.”
The ministry had announced earlier in March that teachers will have to pay for monthly season parking rates if they want to park their cars or motorcycles at school car parks from August this year.
The Straits Times had reported in March that others who might need to pay for season parking include canteen stall operators and coaches and instructors who go to schools regularly, but these fees will not apply to ad hoc visitors such as parents or volunteers.
The season parking announcement came after MOE said it was reviewing 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.
FAIR OR NOT FAIR?
Separately, some CCA coaches and instructors have questioned if it is fair for them to pay the full season parking fee though.
One of them is Mr Edwin Tham, who teaches debates to students from various primary and secondary schools as well as junior colleges.
When informed of the need to pay for season parking at Henry Park Primary School on May 4, Mr Tham asked if coaches like himself will “need a (car park) lot too even if they’re there for their CCA sessions”. The school teacher in charge confirmed this to be so.
Asked if there’s an alternative parking scheme for CCA coaches, the teacher said: “No, I’m afraid not at the moment. It’s the same deal for us too.”
Mr Tham said: “It’s definitely not fair, especially when instructors spend far less time in schools compared to teachers and it eats into a huge portion of an instructor’s income. In addition, instructors do not share the employment terms of teachers.”
Another CCA coach, who requested to remain unnamed, said it is “ridiculous” that coaches and instructors and even parent volunteers have to pay the S$720 season parking fee.
“We are often in the same school once or twice a week for an average of two hours per day,” the coach added. “Hence (when the parking fee is factored in), our hourly fee becomes ridiculously expensive.”
When asked about this, Henry Park Primary’s administration manager Nelly Goh said the season parking fee is in line with the ministry’s guidelines for schools.
“The school has limited car park lots. To manage demand from non-school staff who would like to park in the school, we would require CCA instructors and coaches to pay season parking charges,” Ms Goh said.
“Alternatively, they may park at car parks outside of school.”