Why does MOE and schools even need to know our salaries? — Stephen Ng

JANUARY 5 — It is very strange that I find that every time an application is submitted for a Year 1 child to enter a school, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has a requirement to fill in the salaries of parents.

On top of that, the school also gives out another form that requests parents to fill in the salaries earned per annum. This is often under the guise of saying that the Parent-Teacher Association (PIBG) needs the information to identify children who need financial help.

This, in my opinion, is the most lame excuse that I have heard from any school. It shows that the people who came out with the explanation obviously think that parents are dumb.

Let me assure you that I have stopped filling up the figures although the system says it is a “required field” that needs to be completed.

In such a situation, I just fill in either RM50 a month or if I am mischievous, I just say I earn RM999,999 a year.

So far, no one has approached me to offer any financial assistance and no one even cared to ask why I filled these figures.

It goes to show that, unless the Ministry of Education gives a more plausible answer, whoever came out with the idea of having this required field to be completed either online or on printed forms may have her own hidden agenda.

In the case of the school, if you fill in the real figures of your salaries, it is no longer confidential. The form is passed by your child to the teacher; she then passes it to the administrative staff.

What is considered as “sacred” — which you and I have been told time and again by our human resources department managers not to even reveal your salary increment what's more how much you earn — is now voluntarily exposed.

I urge the Director-General of Education Datuk Amin Senin to quickly look into this and other loopholes which have been created, which have allowed cartels to be formed and make money out of wage-earning parents.

A clear directive has to be issue out to all schools to ensure that they can no longer carry out such surveys under the pretense that the PIBG needs the information for their charity initiatives.

I have found that especially in some Chinese primary schools, defiant principals and teachers continue to issue flyers that list out a long list of reading materials, where the teachers would verbally tell the kids to mark in red, "Must buy. Teacher wants to use in class."

Amin knows me and has my mobile number. If he wants proofs of it, I can always provide; but the point I want to stress is that as the new director-general, he has to be firm and stop all the nonsense parents have to go through every year.

In fact, if Amin can find time to listen to parents' groups such as Jiazhong and PAGE, he will get to hear what is happening on the ground.

It is time to get our education system right again instead of allowing individuals with vested interest to exploit parents using all sorts of gimmicks that I have seen in just three years.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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