Public schools told to keep Christmas parties simple, charge no fees
MANILA, Philippines – Education Secretary Armin Luistro reminded all public school heads about the ban on the collection of fees for Christmas parties and other events, and urged them to keep their yule celebrations simple.
In a press statement, Luistro said that while parent-teachers associations (PTAs) may be authorized to collect financial contributions for celebrations, the money must be given voluntarily.
“The payment of such contributions shall not be made a requirement,” he said.
He pointed out that non-payment of fees for Christmas parties and other events must not be used to discriminate against students in the public elementary and high schools.
“Non-payment of voluntary school contributions shall not be made as a basis for non-admission, non-promotion, or non-issuance of clearance to a student—including the withholding of school cards,” Luistro said.
He emphasized that the collection of any fee for school activities, if made mandatory, is “strictly prohibited.”
However, PTAs may collect fees for celebrations if it is made clear that the monetary contribution is voluntary and if its members agree to the amount in a general assembly.
Nevertheless, Luistro said, PTAs should ask only for small amounts of contributions for the Christmas parties and other celebrations “in consideration of the many expenses that parents incur in sending their children to school.”
“We should keep our Christmas parties and celebrations simple but meaningful,” he said.
Under a 2012 department order, unauthorized solicitations and collections made by PTAs could make them lose their DepEd recognition and their officials may be criminally charged.
Also, public school officials and teachers could face administrative charges for improper or unauthorized solicitations of contributions. A first offense would merit a reprimand, suspension for a second offense while a third offense would mean