DepEd asks public to report unauthorized collections
by Jean Duron-Abangan
Tagum City (4 June) -- Department of Education (DepEd) chiefs of Davao del Norte are encouraging the public to report any public school that would impose collection of fees as this has been strictly prohibited.
Davao del Norte Schools Division Superintendent Aurora Cobero said 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 DepED Order No. 65, 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 4, and at any time during the school-year.
"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.
DepEd orders 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 school-year but these should be collected on a voluntary basis.
Dr. Cobero noted that the latest Department Order has specified the amount of voluntary contributions that should collected from pupils and students from Grade IV and year levels.
Specified fees are the following: BSP, P50.00 per learner; GSP, P50; Anti-TB Fund Drive, P5.00 per learner; PTA fees, to be determined by Board of Directors; School Publication, P60.00 for elementary and P90.00 for secondary; membership in student organizations, based on existing school policies.
PTA collections can only be made "after presenting a report on the utilization of the previous school-year's collections to their members and to the school administration", and that the amount of contributions to the PTA shall be agreed upon in a general assembly.
DepEd has emphasized that school publication fees should not go beyond what has been specified at P60.00 for elementary pupils and P90.00 for secondary students.
DepEd has made it clear that publication of a school newspaper is not mandatory, but it is "strongly" encouraging such in line with the campus journalism program both at the elementary and secondary levels.
Meanwhile, Tagum City DepEd Schools Division Superintendent Nenita Lumaad made it clear that DepEd is not "strictly" requiring parents to present birth certificates of children upon enrollment.
Lumaad was shedding light on observations regarding parents seen lining up at the National Statistics Office (NSO) were claiming to have birth certificates of their children "authenticated" as required by schools.
Birth certificates are important document of checking the child's registered name and age but Lumaad said this should not be made as basis of enrolling a child.
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, under no circumstances shall a child be denied admission due to the absence of birth certificate," DepEd says.
In case a birth certificate is not available, a joint affidavit attesting to the birth of the child executed by two disinterested persons may be submitted but subject to submission of his/her birth certificate thereafter.
Presenting an affidavit became a problem because some parents were thinking that this should be "notarized" which would entail expenses.
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.
Meanwhile, Lumaad said parents need not bring their children beyond Grade I and those in year levels, to school for enrollment, since DepEd Order says that they are "automatically enrolled for the coming school year in the same school".
"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 another school or from a private school, DepEd says.
On the other hand, DepEd does not require "wearing of uniforms" but it is encouraging students with existing uniforms to continue using these, "if they so desire, in order to avoid incurring additional costs for new attire."
DepEd is also asking school heads to provide students with identification cards using funds from their maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE). (PIA XI/DepEdXI) [top]