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Jan 1, 2008

School fees: The first new year surprise for parents

via kualalumpurishome

By now, millions of parents would have paid hundreds of millions to their children respective schools when they went to register their children for the 2008 new school term. Prior to this, the Government had announced free text books for all chool children and also the abolishment of school fees, and had been very proud of its move.

I do agree that the free text books given by the Government does help to lessen the financial burden for parents especially those in the lower and middle income brackets with many school going children.

I would like to sincerely thank the Government for this, although I believe the move could have been effected years ago as the country has the financial resources to absorb this cost if not for the billions of Ringgit Malaysia wasted on unnecessary projects and bailouts (of course the Government will not agree on this).

The abolishment of school fees however does not help much at all. The formal school fees only amount to RM 4.50 and RM 9.00 for primary and secondary schools respectively.

Despite the move, here is what I had to pay when I registered my Form 1 daughter in her new school yesterday.

My daughter’s 2008 school fees
Although the memo says the fees are optional (’Pilihan Pakej’), I was told by the staff that all the fees under sections A, B and C are compulsory. Was there some bad intention when the words ‘Pilihan Pakej’ used there?

The total fees I have to pay is RM 255.20.

Do take note that some of the items in the fees are not absolutely necessary. Below are some examples:

1. Why need to produce and sell a ‘Buku Peraturan Sekolah’ at RM3.50 to students when the same can be produced on an A4 paper that can be photocopied at a cost of 10sen a piece?

2. Why impose on parents to purchase a ‘Kain Sarung’ (for girls) and a ‘Samping’ (for boys) when there is no real needs for that? We have not talked about cost yet which is clearly too expensive.

I believe, there will be many more fees to be collected during the school terms such donations for ‘keceriaan sekolah’, sports functions, class decoration and what not as had been the cases from our years of experience facing the antics by the school authorities.

Last year, I had complaint to another school’s administration where my other daughter was schooling because the school decided to have an expensive donation drive by having the function at a reasonably expensive corporate hall and had invited a top current artist to perform at the dinner function (at a huge cost of course). Initially, the school had requested for an unspecified voluntary donations from the parents which I did give some amount. However, due to un-inspiring response from parents, the school (by using the PIBG’s name) had made it compulsory for all parents to pay a whopping RM150 per head (for every student to attend the dinner), clearly in an attempt to cover the expensive cost of holding such event. I (and many other parents according to my daughter) had refused to pay the amount and had told my daughter to ignore whatever the teacher said about paying the ridiculous ‘compulsory’ donation.

Such is the pressure the parents are facing when it comes to dealing with school administrations. I dare to suggest that parents nowadays are made to finance a lot of un-necessary schools activities that even sending children to Government schools is like sending your kids to private schools… but of course private schools charge a lot more.

Do you have any children going to school this year? Please share with us your experience in the comment area.


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