DepEd issues no-collection guidelines

A June 1, 2012 press release from the Department of Education

The Department of Education has come up with more specific guidelines on non-collection of fees in public schools to serve as guide for school officials and parents. This policy will ensure the issues and concerns regarding unauthorized contributions and fees in public schools are directly addressed. More parents will be encouraged to bring their children to school because they will be sure there will be no mandatory or compulsory collection during the whole course of the school year.

“We can only encourage more parents to bring their children to school if they are not intimidated by school fees, that is why, I urge all school officials to strictly observe these guidelines under the pain of administrative sanctions,” Secretary of Education Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC said.

Citing from DepEd Order 41, series of 2012, Luistro has directed all school officials that no fees shall be collected from school children in kindergarten up to Grade 4 anytime during school year 2012-2013. For Grade 5 pupils up to fourth year high school students, there will be no collection from June to July 2012. However, starting August 2012 until the end of school year 2013, the following fees may be collected on a voluntary basis: Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts membership fees of P50 per learner; Philippine National Red Cross, P35 per learner; Anti-TB fund drive of P5 per learner; school publication fee of P60 for every elementary pupils and P90 for every high school student. The Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) 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 report on the utilization of previous school year’s collections and the school year 2012 proposed budget with program of activities.

“The amount of contribution to the PTA which is to be presented to the body and concurred in by the principal/school head does not make the contributions mandatory. It remains voluntary,” Luistro said.

The Education Chief also reiterated that PTAs should refrain from setting exorbitant amounts for voluntary school contributions for graduation ceremonies, extracurricular activities as well as minimize requests for in-kind contributions.

The order also stipulates no teacher, school officials, and personnel shall collect fees/contributions nor shall they be entrusted with the safekeeping and disbursement of collections made by the PTA pursuant to the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers.

“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,” Luistro said.

The Order said that PTAs, which violate the guidelines, will lose their recognition.  Appropriate charges will be filed against school personnel who will be found violating the provisions of the order.