MANILA, Philippines—Education Secretary Armin Luistro reminded public school officials that no fees should be collected from parents or guardians even on a voluntary basis when public schools reopen on June 3.
Luistro said the collection of fees on the first day of classes discourages financially strapped parents and guardians from sending their children to school.
“There is an urgent need to minimize, if not eliminate financial constraints among parents during the opening of classes,” he said, reiterating existing guidelines prohibiting the collection of any kind of fees during enrolment or at the start of classes in public schools.
Nearly 21 million students are expected to attend classes in around 46,000 public elementary and high schools nationwide on June 3. Private schools are scheduled to open a week later.
For school year 2013-2014, the Department of Education’s projected enrollment in public schools is 20,810,781, consisting of 15,091,653 kindergarten and elementary (Grades 1 to 6) students and 5,719,128 secondary (Grades 7 to 10) students.
DepEd’s projected enrollment for this year by level is: Kindergarten: 1,784,992; Grade 1: 2,780,440; Grade 2: 2,306,096; Grade 3: 2,244,238; Grade 4: 2,091538; Grade 5: 1,984,178; and Grade 6: 1,900,170; Grade 7: 1,689,003; Grade 8: 1,498,856; Grade 9: 1,326,841; and Grade 10: 1,204,428.
Luistro said only 80 per cent of the projected student enrollment signed up during the early registration period last January 26. The rest are expected to enroll right on the first day of classes.
Under the guidelines on the opening of classes spelled out in DepEd Order 41 series 2012, Luistro ordered that absolutely no fees shall be collected from pupils in kindergarten up to Grade 4 during the year.
On the other hand, some minimal fees may be asked from the parents of students in Grade 5 up to Grade 10 (fourth year high school) so long as they are not made compulsory.
But such fees should be collected starting August only, according to the DepEd order.
The fees that may be collected on a voluntary basis from students in Grade 5 up to Grade 10 are those for membership in the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and Girl Scouts of the Philippines at P50 per student; and membership in student organizations based on existing school policies; and contributions to the Philippine Red Cross at P50 per student; the anti-tuberculosis fund drive at P5 per student; the school publication at P60 each for elementary students and P90 each for high school students; and contribution to the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) at a “reasonable amount to be determined by the PTA general assembly.”
DepEd however prohibits school officials, teachers and other school personnel from handling PTA funds even for safekeeping.
“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 report cards,” Luistro said.
DepEd has advised the public to report unauthorized collections by calling its DETxt hotlines (02)636-1663 and (02)633-1942 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.