DepEd call for schools to refrain from collecting graduation fees

A February 22, 2011 press release by the Department of Education

In line with its vision to put every school-aged child in school at no cost, the Department of Education (DepEd) has renewed the call for public and private elementary and secondary schools to refrain from collecting any fees from students now that schools have started preparing for their respective graduation rites.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro reminded all education stakeholders, particularly the school heads and teachers of the more than 55,000 private and public schools under its supervision, to focus on ensuring quality education for all rather than holding lavish graduation ceremonies, which give additional financial burden to parents.

“The mandate of the department is to bring every school-aged child in school and not to discourage enrolment, specifically among the very poor, because of the unnecessary fees they need to shoulder during celebrations like graduation,” Luistro said.

Earlier, the department has instructed schools to hold simple graduation rites through DepEd Order No.4, series of 2011 highlighting its policy on the conduct and collection of fees for graduation rites.

DepEd has taken an aggressive position to put every school-aged child in school at no cost as part of its Education for All (EFA) commitment, a promise of 100 percent enrollment of all children and youth of school age by 2015. In fact, the department has been exploring several means to eliminate obstacles that prevent a child from being in school.

Luistro furthered that graduation should serve as a reward to parents for sending their children to school and should not be a reason for them to worry financially.”

Addressing the problem on the high cost of education, the DepEd’s emphasis on the no collection policy is in line with the Philippine Constitutional mandate to provide free public education at the elementary and secondary levels.

The department also appeals to schools to refrain from holding graduation parties or balls that will require students to pay additional expenses unless agreed upon by the parents-teachers associations (PTAs); and collection must be on a voluntary basis.

Under DepEd Order No.4, this year’s graduation theme is “The Graduate: A Partner Towards Transformational Society, An Answer to Societal Change” (Ang Mga Magsisipagtapos: Kaagapay Tungo sa Pagbabagong Anyo ng Lipunan, Tugon sa Hamon ng Sambayanan). It also mentions that graduation rites shall be scheduled any day between April 1-7, 2011.