The education department says schools are non-partisan, and graduation ceremonies should not be a venue for ‘political activity or campaigning’.
With 2016 campaign period having started, the Department of Education (DepEd) urged schools to keep graduation rites free from any politicking.
“The end of school year 2015-2016 rites should be an appropriate and solemn ceremony befitting the learners and their parents and shall not be used as a political forum,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said in a statement Friday, February 19.
DepEd announced in a recent order that all graduation ceremonies should be scheduled on or before April 1, 2016. In recent years, the department has repeatedly reminded education officials to keep graduation ceremonies simple.
But this time around, the reminder came with a call not to make the ceremony a venue for “political activity or campaigning” so as to maintain the “neutrality and non-partisanship of schools.”
Aside from the backdrop of the 2016 elections, the end of this school year is also unique, since the largest batch of Grade 10 students will not graduate. Instead, they will receive their junior high school certificate in a completion ceremony and move up to Grade 11 – the first year of senior high school (SHS). (READ: Which students can colleges admit in 2016?)
With the nationwide rollout of SHS, the full implementation of K to 12 will begin this June.
Graduates of Batch 2016 in basic education include Grade 6 students (graduation from elementary) and Grade 12 students in international schools with the K to 12 curriculum, as well as other early implementors of the program (graduation from high school).
The theme of this year’s graduation ceremonies is Kabataang Mula K to 12, Tagapagdala ng Kaunlaran sa Bansang Pilipinas. (READ: INFOGRAPHIC: 10 things about K to 12)
The department also warned schools not to impose on students non-academic projects (field trips, film-showing, junior-senior promenade) as requirements for graduation or completion.
Schools are not allowed to collect fees or contributions for the graduation ceremonies, as expenses should be charged to their 2016 Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses. DepEd said the ceremonies must be conducted “without excessive spending, extravagant attire, or extraordinary venue.”
But Parent-Teacher Associations may donate in cash or in kind, and contributions for the annual yearbook, if any, should be done on a voluntary basis
“While we recognize that graduation marks a milestone in one’s life, let our focus be on our sense of community and personal responsibility as graduates whose journey in life has just begun,” Luistro said. – Rappler.com