I read the latest post by the Singapore Democrats regarding a particular PAP kindergarten setting a time-based monetary penalty to parents who do not pick up their children on time from their kindergarten. The branch in question is the Bedok Branch.
Let me first clarify that my points are all based solely on the knowledge from this particular article. Depending on how this issue turns out, there may be new revelations or facts that was not known before hand.
I find it really puzzling that this particular branch would seek to resort to imposing fines to parents who may for legitimate reasons have a Is there no room for compassion? After all, isn’t the entire purpose of setting up the PCF to help those who are in need? Be it financial or welfare.
The following is an excerpt from PCF’s Mission listed on their website.
The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) is the social and charitable arm of the People's Action Party. The mission of PCF is to enhance the well-being of the community through educational, welfare and community services. The vision of PCF is to provide quality services at affordable cost to the community. The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) comprises of 1 HQ and 84 Branches, each of which consists of between 1 and 8 centres. These centres provide Kindergarten, Childcare, Student Care and Aged Care Services.
While I do acknowledge that there may really be people who do abuse the system, imposing a fine especially one that is so exorbitant as a $2 fine for being 5 minutes late, is just beyond me. Like the Singapore Democrats have already pointed out, that is even higher than parking at private car-parks. Is it a little unfair to be penalizing a whole group of people for the mistakes of a small group of people? Lets not throw the baby out with the bath water.
If this was a privately own chain of kindergarten, it wouldn’t really be an issue as they do have the right to decide what to do with their kindergarten, as private citizens, but these PCF Kindergartens are setup by the ruling party for the very purpose of helping families who are not able to afford a private education to receive one. What kind of signal are they sending if they claim to be ‘for the people’ and a compassionate party on one hand, and then turning around to demand $2 for being just 5 minutes late, whom could be by no fault of their own.
To make it even worst, PCF is considered as a charity and as such receives grant money from the government. Money that every Singaporean citizen have already contributed to in the form of taxes. Including those kids’ parents.
I urge PCF to review their policy and find alternate means like allowing flexible lunch/dinner hours for their staffs so that they can eat after the kids have been picked up, or alternatively having a planned manpower so that at any one time, there should be a teacher who is present without any commitments to stay back in case of late parents.
There are many ways to skin a cat and I do not agree that a monetary form of punishment is the best solution in this already troubled economy.