Fee foo fum — punishing the parents

I don’t know what they teach in schools these days but I know one thing they do not teach and that is the value of money.

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Published: Tue 18 May 2010, 11:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:41 PM

Not that they do not know about the value of money seeing as how educating kids today is the single largest expense for parents, even higher than the monthly payment on the car or the house.

The way they charge these fees or hike them arbitrarily, I believe the school authorities themselves have little value for parental money and seem to share the delightful, yet entirely untrue, concept that money grows on trees and we parents are all cheerfully inclined to pluck it and pass it on to children and schools alike.

It seems inconceivable to me that children in the home, brought up on love and the right values, simply discard all affection for their parents when it comes to paying money to the schools.

I mean, if you are having a school play, I imagine the school would pick up the tab. Not all of them. Not even the mini-minority of them. No, you have to pay to act; mum has to get the costume made; there is a ticket price for kid brother or sister to watch the special matinee and no parent ever gets a cut at the box office profit despite the contribution.

Then its Teacher’s Day. While I am all for ‘teach’ to have a day or a whole week if ‘teach’ so wants why do we have to pay for it.

Try asking your kids to discuss this rationally.

This is breakfast conversation.

“I don’t see any reason why I should pay to celebrate teacher’s day, let the school pay.”

“Dad, everyone is paying, the whole school. You want me to be the only one left out?”

“Okay by me, I really don’t see any reason...”

“Mum, he’s embarrassing me again. Besides, next week we are going for a school outing that is 100 AED each.”

“I really, don’t see why I have to pay for any of these things. The school should pay. Do they pay for Parent’s Day?”

“No dad, you do, now give me the money.”

Then they have a summer camp or a trip to another country and the form teacher writes you this letter telling you how it will widen your child’s horizon and since you are all for widening horizons and you can’t be seen being a cheapie. You now have to pay for the air ticket, their food, their stay, their medical insurance. In short, their whole cost, so what is the school investment except that it inundates you with instructions? New bag, size of bag, what’s in the bag etc.

Thank you, oh great fount of wisdom for affording us lowly parents the opportunity of sending our children under your protection to seek and find knowledge... if only you’d pay at least part of the bill.

Then some of the school hierarchies get bitten by the do good bug and this is wonderful when it concerns the environment or recycling of bottles or cleaning beaches or reducing garbage but why the schools have to rally children to make contributions for the waste bags or the carry-ons or the transport is beyond my scope of understanding.

“Dad, I need twenty bucks.”

“So do I.”

“Mommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.”

“Okay, hush up. What for?”

“For a charity drive our school is taking part.”

“Well, if your school is taking part, ask them for the twenty bucks, I haven’t been invited to the party.”

“It is not a party, it is for a good cause, just give the money, please.”

“Don’t they take school fees? Don’t we pay them enormous sums of money so you can learn to be rude to us and say ‘yep’? Don’t we, so then why should I pay for their good time?”

“It’s not a good time, it is a good cause.”

I have got both my kids out of school and I still don’t understand how it works. What are these ‘extras’ that keep appearing in the bill? Why are we responsible for them? My friend tells me his kid’s school charges ‘extra’ for computer lessons.

That’s like charging our generation for using pencils and rubbers.

Computers are integral to education, how can you charge for them?

Just shut up and pay.

Teachers and kids think money grows on trees. —E.S. Mani



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