MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Education (DepEd) yesterday reminded public school officials that no fees should be collected from pupils in kindergarten up to high school during enrollment and the first days of class.
“We call on all teachers and school officials to see to it that we do not refuse a single student who wants to enroll. We strongly remind them that we do not collect any fees as a requirement for enrollment,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said.
Classes in public elementary and high school will start on June 2.
Luistro said certain contributions in public schools, while authorized by DepEd, do not mean they are compulsory.
The fees, authorized but not compulsory, include the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts membership fees, Philippine Red Cross, anti-TB fund, school publication fee, and Parents-Teachers Association fee.
“These contributions remain voluntary,” Luistro stressed.
“Let me be clear on this: in no case shall non-payment of voluntary school contributions or membership fees be made a basis for non-admission, non-promotion or non-issuance of clearance to a student. And that includes withholding of school cards,” he said.
Under DepEd Order 41 series of 2012, no fees shall be collected from school children in kindergarten up to Grade 4 anytime during the school year.
For Grade 5 up to fourth year high school students, there will be no collection from June to July.
However, starting August this year until the end of school year, the following fees may be collected on a voluntary basis: Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts membership fee of P50 per learner; Philippine Red Cross, P35 per learner; anti-TB fund drive of P5; school publication fee of P60 for every elementary pupil and P90 for every high school student.
The Parents-Teachers Association fee must be reasonable and is to be determined during the PTA general assembly.
The PTA can only collect contributions starting August and only after presenting to the PTA members and to the school head/principal a report on the utilization of the previous school year’s collections and the school year proposed budget with program of activities, Luistro said.
“School fees should not intimidate parents from bringing their children to school, that is why I urge all school officials to strictly observe these guidelines or face administrative sanctions,” he said.
DepEd Assistant Secretary Jesus Mateo said the government provides basic education free of charge to all citizens.
“Schools are not allowed to turn away students. Only in extreme cases of overpopulation can they do it. In such cases, some schools will opt for Alternative Delivery Modes,” he said.
“Our public assistance station has received as total of 63 queries since Monday, some of them regarding compulsory contributions. In these cases, our team calls the schools and finds out the details. If the schools violate our strict prohibition on collection of fees, our legal department will send them a warning,” Mateo said.
Mateo urged the public to send their complaints directly to DepEd through the following hotlines: (02) 636-1663, (02) 633-1942 and (63) 919-456-0027.