‘Don’t charge school registration fees’

PARENTS in Johor are urging the government to reconsider charging school registration fees when their children resume in-school classes.

Mohd Rafee Abdullah, 47, said doing so would be a further burden for some parents who had spent money on electronic devices so their children could study from home.

“I spent about RM1,000 to buy tablets for my children before the government decided to reopen schools. Now I have to spend more money to buy their clothes and school necessities.

“This is aside from the registration fee when they return to school, ” he told StarMetro.

The father of four added that he spent almost RM1,000 to equip his children for school, including buying uniforms. Three of his children are in secondary school while the youngest is in primary school.

“This includes the cost of buying their books and uniforms for their religious school, ” said Mohd Rafee who works at a restaurant in Kota Masai.

Mother-of-three Maizatul Azura Abu Hassan, 37, said paying the registration fee was pointless if Covid-19 infections in the state went up and schools had to close again.

“The government should have more empathy for parents, especially those who are poor.

“I spent RM1,500 buying printers and tablets for my children to study at home and now I have to spend more to prepare them for school, ” said Maizatul, who works as an administrative assistant in Ulu Tiram.

She said that she had bought her children’s school necessities in December before the government decided that schools would not reopen in January.

“Some of the clothes and uniforms no longer fit so I have to buy new ones, ” she said, adding that some shops were offering discounts, which was a relief for parents doing last-minute shopping.

Meanwhile, Norlela Abu Hashim, 48, is looking for some form of assurance from the government that schools are safe for children.

“Cases in Johor are still high and with schools reopening, I am a little worried.

“Nevertheless, I hope the government and state Education Department make sure that there are strict regulations and SOP in place to minimise the risk of infection, ” she said, adding that she planned to avoid sending her children via school bus in order to reduce the risk.

Norlela said she had also subscribed to monthly Internet data costing RM200 to help her children study at home.

“We already have second-hand laptops and a smartphone to help our children with their studies, ” said the mother of four from Taman Cendana, Pasir Gudang.

Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin had announced the reopening of schools nationwide in stages, starting with preschoolers and primary school pupils in Year One and Two today.

Year Three to Year Six pupils will return on March 8, while secondary schools will begin seeing students in classrooms again after the mid-semester school holidays that will begin on March 26 or 27 and end on April 3 or 4, depending on the state.