THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday reminded public schools across the country to prepare simple graduation rites next month.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said this year’s graduation rites will focus on the theme “Hindi Natitinag ang Pusong Pilipino,” to pay homage to the resilience of the Filipino spirit and its triumphs over the recent string of calamities it conquered over the school year.
According to the DepEd school calendar for school year 2013-2014, the graduation rites will be scheduled either on March 27 or 28. For regions or schools divisions who extended their academic year due to natural or man-made calamities, the rites should be scheduled based on their respective revised school calendars as approved by DepEd.
Luistro reminded schools about the “no extravagant special attire or extraordinary venue” guideline to maintain the solemnity of the occasion by remaining frugal and simple. He said graduation rites should not be exercised in splurging and display of pomp and pageantry but should be simple affairs that exhort civic duties, sense of community, and personal responsibilities and should be memorable, exciting and animated without baggage of extra cost and excessive spending.
“While the graduation rites mark a milestone in every learner, we should keep it prudent and economical. Extravagant attires and venues are not necessary to make an impression; the important thing is we send the message of nationalism, excellence and resilience to every graduate,” Luistro said.
Luistro also said that non-academic activities such as attendance to field trips and JS Promenade should not be imposed as a prerequisite to graduation.
The education department also reiterated that while Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs) may opt to give cash or in-kind donations, public school personnel are not allowed to collect any graduation fees or any kind of contribution to any student at any grade or year level.
In a separate Regional Memorandum (20 s. 2014) released by DepEd Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Luisa Yu, conduct of JS Promenades, Senior Balls, Graduation Balls and other closing activities is discouraged so as not to disrupt classes and to spare students and parents from additional financial burden. In the same light, graduation rites in Region 8 should be held the simplest way possible. Yu directs division officials to monitor compliance in their respective areas.
Meanwhile, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) also called on school and field officials to abide by the DepEd rules on graduation rites.
Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairman, his organization agrees with the department in regulating graduation fees and extravagant rites especially if it is imposed by the school authorities.
“Graduation, while considered as special day for most of the students and parents should not be extravagant and burdensome,” Basas said.
According to him, many of public school students belong to the poor families who may not afford the fees. However, he recognizes the festive mode of some families who wishes the graduation day of their children to be special.
“Some parents would be very happy for their children who accomplished secondary education especially those who are not well-prepared for tertiary schooling, thus they may want to see their kids wearing toga. In that case, we understand that if the parents would want to contribute or donate any affordable amount for the graduation ceremonies then it would be all right as long as it is compliant of the rules set by the DepEd,” Basas explained.
“But it should be an initiative from the parents of the graduating class or the PTA,” he added.
Basas particularly cited the case in Typhoon Yolanda-stricken Visayas especially many towns in Leyte and Samar provinces, which until now have yet to recover from the severe damage brought about by the monster typhoon in November.
“Until now, there are no classrooms in many schools and the operation is still irregular,” he said.