High school studes to Bro. Armin: enforce the ‘no collection’ policy in public schools
High school students led by youth group Anakbayan trooped to the Dept. of Education National Office to demand that the policy of non-mandatory fee collection in public elementary and high schools be strictly enforced.
Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce challenged DepEd secretary Bro. Armin Luistro to ‘put teeth’ in the policy, saying many public school administrations continued to openly flaunt it.
Last June, Anakbayan members studying in Culiat and Quirino High Schools, both in Quezon City, witnessed their school administrators collecting PTA fees amounting to 340 and 390 pesos, respectively. They were told that if they did not pay, they would be flunked from their subjects by the first of July. They also reported similar occurrences in Ramon Magsaysay and Quirino High Schools, also in Quezon City.
“No decent student wants to fail his or her subjects, especially if the reason isn’t based on their academic performance, but on their parents’ ability to pay. This is nothing but sheer blackmail on the part of the school administrators, and yet another burden for the millions of poor parents across the country” said Dulce.
“Such fees are almost equal to an entire day’s salary for minimum wage-earners in Metro Manila. By being forced to pay them, this puts additional strain into their already-stretched budgets” he added.
The minimum wage in Metro Manila is presently pegged at P404 a day, while the daily cost of living for a family of six (average size in the NCR) is at P917.
The youth leader called on Luistro for a swift and transparent investigation on to the matter.
“He must send a clear and firm message that he is in control. If not, then DepEd pronouncements will continue to be good on paper only, and we can’t pay PTA fees with plain paper” said Dulce, referring to the department’s memo last March forbidding the mandatory of collection of graduation fees in public schools, which was all but ignored by many schools.
Meanwhile, Dulce challenged the DepEd secretary to unite with them in calling for the allocation of at least 6% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) to address the roots of the public school system’s many problems.
He said a multi-sectoral alliance on education reform was now in the works, and several national youth and student groups have committed to join.