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Call on the Education Minister YB Dato' Seri Hishamuddin to pay attention to additional fees for school activities, so as to calm down the feeling of parents

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Media Statement
by Tan Seng Giaw
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(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): I call on the Education Minister YB Dato' Seri Hishamuddin to pay attention to additional fees for school activities, so as to calm down the feeling of parents.

On 7 September, 2007, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah presented the 2008 National Budget which allocates RM 16.4 billion for primary and secondary schools in the country. From 1 January, 2008, all school fees are scrapped and 5.7 million students are eligible for the loan scheme for textbooks.

Parents welcome free education. But, they may feel differently about extra payment. During the debate on the educational allocations in Parliament last December; I reminded the Education Minister that parents would respond to additional school fees. Sure enough, as 500,000 new students throng the schools, some parents complain about additional fees. For Chinese and Tamil schools, parents have been more used to additional fees; their feeling may not be so high.

Usually, schools charge some fees for extracurricular activities and tuitions, including computer classes. The Education Minister has to assure parents that there are no irregularities in extra payments at schools.

Hisham says, ďAsk your (parents') conscience! The money is for children's schools, for their benefits. If you can afford it, please contribute. If you cannot, I don't force you. But, ask yourself whether you qualify for assistance."

One guideline says that additional fee in primary schools must not exceed RM 38 and that for secondary schools RM 55. Hisham mentions RM 25 or RM 35 (per student).

I believe that the Education Minister need not be angry. He will find that the feeling of some parents about additional fee may not be so high. He ought to pay attention to parents' emotion over this type of payment and to ascertain effective ways of putting them at ease.
(06/01/2008)     


*Tan Seng Giaw, DAP Deputy Chairman & MP for Kepong

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