Pak Lah nearly scored a bullseye when in the last budget he announced that there will be "No School Fees." Almost all mainstream media were playing and rewinding the same song daily. If elections were to be held within a month, he would have scored a handsome victory just singing that particular tune alone.
Remember the last election and Pak Lah's promises on 'clean and efficient government'? Where is the clean government now? Where is the people friendly government now? And like the way he reneged on those promises, he has done it again this time around with his promise of "No School Fees".
When school repened recently, parents were confused when told that they will have to pay a 'yuran tambahan' instead. This yuran tambahan is actually more than the amount they paid the year before.
Lets get a clearer picture of the situation. In the previous years, school fees was RM4.50. In addition there were MSSM fees and Takaful insurance which were fixed amounts. Then schools were allowed to collect extra fees for sports, printing and library. It is these extra charges that make quite a lot of difference. Schools vary in the amounts they collect for sports, printing and library. Some collect less and the total amount is low while others collect more which pushed the total amount to quite high. In addition schools also collect fees for magazines. This again vary from place to place and according to quality.
What happens now is that the government has decided to do away with school fees that is no more RM4.50 per head. Realising that this will kill the schools, they come out with a mechanism where they calculate school needs. They mysteriously come to 3 figures based on needs of schools and parents affordability. They decide to categorise into 3. Category A RM30+, category B RM40+ and category C RM40+.
Schools will decide which category they want to be in base on the amount they need to operate and also considering the affordability factor.
In previous years, yes its true, that there were schools charging up to RM100 based on their needs but there were many schools sensitive enough to charge only about RM20+ to RM30+ based on the affordability of the parents.
What happens now? Schools that used to charge up to RM100 could only, at best, pick category C which is RM50+ while schools that used to charge RM20+ to RM30+ would most probably pick category A RM30+.
In previous years my school collected RM24.50 school fees and RM10.00 magazine fees for a total of RM34.50. This year we decide to go under category A RM30+ but students don't get any magazines for this. Do you see that by going under category A we are charging more? Do you also see that somehow the RM4.50 which was supposed to taken off is cunningly factored in? No school fees?
Why this stupidity? I call it damn downright stupid because now parents have to pay more when they were promised that they don't have to pay any. Lets take those big schools that used to charge RM70 to RM100, they would most probably be opting for the category C bracket which is lower than the amount they use to charge. The question is how many schools charged more than category C in the previous years. Where are these schools situated. What is the income group of the parents of students in these schools?
The answers are simple. Not many schools charged that high, they are mostly city schools and most of the parents are filthy rich. What about schools charging about RM20+ to RM30+? They now have to charge a minimum of category A which is more than or at least equivalent to what they used to charge. The question is how many schools charged these amounts, where are they situated and what income group do the parents come from?
The answers are are again simple. Many schools charged this amount, they are mostly suburban and kampung schools and their parents come from the lower income bracket. So who are the government actually helping here. Are they helping the rich parents who incidentally have very few children, or are they helping the poor parents, who for reasons only known to them have many children.
So the main question again 'Why this stupidity'?
Could it be that, those idiots who furnish the government with information about fees are those idiots who conduct surveys in their vicinity which is Putrajaya and KL and Shah Alam? They did not bother to really check with what is going on in other parts of the country? I believe that is the case. This means that the people in government has been severed with reality. They don't know the hardship that the poor are facing. They don't realise that pittance to them could be riches to the poor.
We may not hear too many complaints here because the MSM would be working overtime to filter dissenting voices especially with elections looming. Bloggers you say? Most bloggers could afford even category A or are already paying more than that so they don't really have much to complain do they? Maybe they are not aware being city dwellers and all.
Or could all these be another ploy by the government in generating dissent and then suddenly the PM comes to rescue and say all will have to pay only RM10 and that the extra amount paid would be refunded. I won't be surprised if this happened because flip-flopping seems to be the order of the day.
If there is no reversal, the situation is that the rich actually gets a discount in fees and the poor either pay more or pay the same amount. If they were to pay more or the same amount then where is the promise of No School Fees?
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