MANILA, Philippines -- Education Secretary Armin Luistro urged school heads to keep graduation rites cheap and simple this year, reminding them that fees related to the ceremony are not allowed.
"I would like to reiterate DepEd (Department of Education) Order No. 8, series of 2005 which prohibits the collection of any graduation fees or any kind of contribution for the graduation rites. I will hold responsible all school heads and DepEd personnel who will violate this," Luistro said in a statement.
"The significance of the event should not be overshadowed by pomp, pageantry and unwarranted spending," he added.
He said, though, that contributions for the yearbook, graduation attire and venue are allowed, but these should be voluntary.
"In graduation, we want to be reminded of what our learners gained during their stay in school -- their sense of community and personal responsibility," Luistro said, adding that graduation rites should be "solemn, focused on the students and their parents, and not a venue for political forum."
Graduation rites in all public elementary and secondary schools are set on March 28 and 29 this year.