DepEd asks public to report unauthorized collections, clarifies other requirements

Jun. 05, 2010

TAGUM CITY —Department of Education (DepEd) chiefs of Davao del Norte are encouraging the public to report any public school collects fees, as this has been strictly prohibited.

Aurora Cobero, Davao del Norte schools division superintendent, said that the collection of fees —  even those considered on a voluntary basis — is not allowed under Department Order No. 65 series of 2010 issued by DepEd Secretary Mona D. Valisno on May 19, 2010.

In issuing this order, Valisno cited the Constitutional mandate of providing free public education at the elementary and secondary levels and the country’s commitment to the millennium development goals (MDGs) with respect to universal primary school participation.

The department order labeled for strict compliance the “no collection” from school children enrolling in pre-school up to grade four. DepEd says the same policy should be observed for grades and year levels beyond grade four, but allows collection of authorized contributions on the second month of the schoolyear — on a voluntary basis.

“The prohibition shall cover the authorized but voluntary contributions such as Boys Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), Girls Scouts of the Philippines (GSP), Red Cross, anti-tubercolosis (TB) fund and parents-teachers association (PTA), among others,” Cobero said.

Cobero said the latest order has specified the amount of voluntary contributions that should collected from public school students: BSP and GSP may collect only 50 pesos per student; the anti-TB fund drive may collect only five pesos per student; PTA fees are to be determined by the Board of Directors; and membership fees in student organizations should be based on existing school policies.

Cobero added PTA collections can only be made after presenting to the members and to the school administration a report on the use of the previous schoolyear’s collections; the amount of contributions shall be agreed in a general assembly.

The DepEd order specifies that school publications may collect up to 60 pesos per elementary and up to 90 pesos per high school student. Cobero says the DepEd has made it clear that the publication of a school newspaper is not mandatory, but it is “strongly” encouraged, in line with the campus journalism program both at the elementary and secondary levels.

Tagum City DepEd schools division superintendent Nenita Lumaad meanwhile clarified that DepEd does not require parents to present birth certificates of children upon enrollment. Lumaad made this remark after observing parents lining up at the National Statistics Office (NSO), saying “authenticated” birth certificates are required by schools.

DepEd Order 65 says that a birth certificate shall be a documentary basis of enrolling a child who will be six year old by the opening of classes (June 15, 2010) for School Year 2010-2011 and every opening of classes for subsequent school years. However, the order clarifies that under no circumstances shall a child be denied admission due to the absence of birth certificate.

In the absence of a birth certificate, a joint affidavit attesting to the birth of the child executed by two disinterested persons may be submitted. The birth certificate may be submitted later.

Lumaad said she had asked school heads to come up with a pro-forma affidavit that parents and concerned parties could sign immediately during enrollment.

Lumaad also said the same order says that students beyond grade one are automatically enrolled for the coming school year in the same school and parents need not bring their children for enrollment. “This is one-way of decongesting enrollment days. Parents need not bring their children to school for enrollment,” she said.

Those who need to go to school during enrollment are those entering grade I and first year high school, and transferees from other schools.

DepEd does not require students to wear uniforms but encourages students with existing uniforms to continue using these in order to avoid incurring additional costs for new attire. School heads must also provide students with identification cards using funds from their maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE). (PIA 11/DepEdXI)

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