MANILA, Philippines --- With barely a month before graduation rites in public elementary and secondary schools take place, Education Secretary Armin Luistro yesterday reminded school officials and heads to strictly comply with the "no-collection" policy of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Through DepEd Order No. 9, series of 2013 released to all bureau and regional directors, schools city/ division superintendents, and heads of public and private elementary and secondary schools, Luistro reiterated the department's policy issued in 2012 as well as other guidelines in the conduct of this year's graduation rites.
"In line with the government's austerity program, the DepEd reiterated its graduation rites policy as contained in DepEd Order No. 9, series of 2012," Luistro said. The order stated that "public school heads (SHs), teachers and other DepEd personnel should not be allowed to collect any graduation fees or any kind of contribution for the graduation rites."
Luistro said that only Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) "may give donations in cash or in kind for the graduation ceremonies and celebrations." When it comes to requirements for graduation, he added that "no non-academic projects should be imposed" by the teachers or the school heads among their students.
To ease financial burden of parents, Luistro said that "no extravagant special attire or extraordinary venue for the ceremonies should be required." To those who want to avail themselves of the yearbook, he stressed that contributions for it, if any, "should be on a voluntary basis."
Luistro noted that "graduation rites should not be exercised in splurging display of pomp and pageantry but should be Spartan affairs which exhort civic duties, sense of community and personal responsibilities and should be memorable, exciting and animated without baggage of extra cost and excessive spending."
Furthermore, he added that "the graduation rites should be conducted in an appropriate solemn ceremony befitting the graduating students and their parents and shall not be used as a political forum."
For the graduation rites for school year 2012-2013, DepEd said that the focus should be on the theme, "Building the Nation's Future Leaders Through the K to 12 Basic Education Program" or the " K to 12 Basic Education Program-Tungo sa Paghuhubog ng mga Makabaging Lider ng Bansa." The graduation rites should be scheduled either on March 18 or 19, 2013.
Every year, complaints on collection of fees and other graduation-related concerns reach the DepEd despite its constant reminder to school heads and teachers and all other concerned to make the event "solemn, focused on the students and their parents, and not be used as a venue for political forum."