• Are Schools Allowed to Collect Money From Their Students?

    Be aware and protect yourself from unlawful practices in some schools.
    by Tina Tanjuatco .
  • Are Schools Allowed to Collect Money From Their Students?
    IMAGE @kwanchaichaiudom/iStock
  • Q: My son is a grade 3 student at a private school. One time, he asked for P80 pesos, which he said was solicited by his teachers for an official school event. When my husband and I asked to see the official memo from school, he said there was none. But the teachers needed it as soon as possible to buy decor and food for the birthday celebration of the school’s faculty members supposedly. We told our son that we weren't giving any contribution since there was no official letter about it. It made my son feel bad; he was worried that he might get lower grades or be called to the principal’s office as a result. Is that fair? Are schools allowed to collect money from their students, especially for the said purpose?

    A: Strictly speaking and based on laws passed in the Philippines, collection of monetary contributions is not allowed. You have Republic Act 4206, an act that prohibits the collection of contributions from school children of public primary and intermediate schools. The law was later amended to also include private schools with Republic Act 5546.

    According to Ann Clarice B. Fajardo, a college professor at Chiang Kai Shek College and a preschool and kindergarten supervisor, "Collection of money from students especially from minor pupils without parents’ written consent for any school activity, project or program (except the ones indicated below) is illegal and unethical."

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    Fajardo cutes the Department of Education (DepEd) Memorandum No. 143, s. 2016. It says "no fees shall be collected from school children in Kindergarten up to Grade 4 anytime during the school year, while no collection of fees shall be made for Grade 5 to High School students from June to July. The allowable collections must be voluntary (optional) in nature and are directly related to a student’s membership in the school community. These consist of the following: Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP), Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Anti-TB Fund Drive, Parents-Teachers Association (PTAs), School Publication, and Membership in pupil/ student organizations." 

    Money may be collected for certain causes but on a voluntary basis. Jill Alcoreza, program director at Winfield International Training & Consultancy, Inc. with an MA in Education, major in Development Education, explains, “Donations or money collection to promote social responsibility may be an opportunity for families to appreciate and express the virtues of generosity and kindness.”

    However, to avoid exploitation, she explains that it must be, at all times:

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    coursed through the parents through formal writing;

    voluntary;

    require no specific amount;

    be for a charitable cause;

    be well accounted for;

    reflect transparency; and

    show proof or evidence of its use.

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    Says Dr. Antonio N. Torralba, a University Fellow and Trustee of the University of Asia & the Pacific, founding director of Southridge School for Boys, and founding director of Westbridge School for Boys: 

    "A proven method to encourage parents to help the school in carrying out social responsibility and concern is through parent coordinators for classrooms and levels, and even school-wide through a PTA system. It is of course expedient that pupils and students themselves get actively involved in the social projects of the school. Hence, social responsibility should be a matter that concerns parents, teachers, staff, and pupils/students in various modes. It cannot be the exclusive domain of any sector in the school."

    So what should parents or guardians do the next time their teachers ask for money?

    1. First, write a letter to the school to inform them and to ask for an explanation. 

    2. If the school is uncooperative or if both parties cannot come up with a resolution, gather necessary documents for a formal report to DepEd.

    3. Call or email DepEd public assistance station for any complaints, concerns, and questions at 636-1669, 633-1942, 0919-456-0027, and through action@deped.gov.ph.

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    If the child is being treated unfairly because of non-participation, these are the steps parents and guardians may take, according to Atty. Ellen Abesamis- Quinto:

    "It is highly suggested that the parents concerned bring the matter to the attention of the school administrators either by themselves or through the parents’ organization (PTA) in school. This would give all parties the opportunity to discuss the issues amicably and resolve them within the bounds of the school."

    If that doesn't work, Atty. Quinto says you can file "administrative complaint before your DepEd regional office, which can investigate and discipline private schools." 

    "When as a result of this illegal activity, any child gets harassed in any way or treated with bias because of non-participation on the school’s money collection, the parents may file a complaint under Republic Act No. 7610, which covers all forms of child abuses, including psychological abuse," says Atty. Quinto.

    References :

    NCR Regional Memorandum No. 22, s. 2016 (February 29, 2016)

    Board of Professional Teachers Board Resolution No. 435, s. 1997. (2017). Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers.

    Department of Education Memorandum No. 143, s. 2016. (2016.) Reiteration of the no  collection policy from the parents-teachers association.  

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    Are Schools Allowed to Collect Money from Their Students? 

     

     

    Q: My son is a grade 3 student at a private school. One time, he asked for 80 pesos, which he said was for an official school event. When my husband and I asked to see the letter from the school or an official memo, he said there is none, but that the teachers need it as soon as possible to buy decors and food for the birthday celebration of the school’s faculty members. We told him that since there is no official letter about it, we won’t be giving any contributions, which seemed to make our son feel bad and worried that he might get lower grades or be called to the principal’s office as a result. Is that fair? Are schools allowed to collect money from their students, especially for the said purpose?  

     

    A: Strictly speaking and based on laws passed in the Philippines, collection of monetary contributions is not allowed. But, as we all know, this is a common practice in many schools nowadays.  

     

    Republic Act 4206, an act that prohibits the collection of contributions from school children of public primary and intermediate schools, specifically states that:

     

    The collection of contributions for the Red Cross, Anti-Tuberculosis, Parent-Teacher Associations, School Athletic Meets, Medical and Dental Services or for any other project or purpose, whether voluntary or otherwise, from school children of public primary and intermediate schools is hereby prohibited: provided, however, that this prohibition shall not cover membership drives of the Red Cross.” (Section 1)

     

    Further, violation of the said Act is punishable “by a fine of not less than fifty pesos nor more than one hundred pesos or imprisonment for not more than one month or both in the discretion of the court.” 

     

    The law was later amended to also include private schools with Republic Act 5546, which states, “The sale of tickets and/or the collection of contributions in any form whatsoever, by any person for any project or purpose, whether voluntary or otherwise, from school children, students and teachers of public and private schools, colleges and universities is hereby prohibited: Provided, however, That this prohibition shall not cover membership fees of school children and students in the Red Cross, the girl scouts of the Philippines and the boy scouts of the Philippines: Provided, finally, That this prohibition shall not cover the contributions of parents and other donors for the support of barrio high schools." 

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    According to Jill Alcoreza, Program Director at Winfield International Training & Consultancy, Inc. 

     with an MA in Education, Major in Development Education, “Donations or money collection to promote social responsibility may be an opportunity for families to appreciate and express the virtues of generosity and kindness.” However, to avoid exploitation it must be at all times: 

     

       coursed through the parents through formal writing; 

       voluntary; 

       require no specific amount; 

       be for a charitable cause; 

       be well accounted for; 

       reflect transparency; and 

       show proof or evidence of its use. 

     

    “Otherwise, the practice may subconsciously be a training ground for corruption,” she adds. “It opens a huge door of doubt to the school with whom families consider their children’s second home; and to the teachers with whom parents have entrusted their children for proper care and guidance.” 

     

    According to Ms. Ann Clarice B. Fajardo, an educator with an MA in Education, Major in Child Development Education, Supervisor of Preschool and Kindergarten (English Instruction), and a College Professor at Chiang Kai Shek College: 

     

    Collection of money from students especially from minor pupils without parents’ written consent for any school activity, project or program (except the ones indicated below) is illegal and unethical. 

     

    Legally, the Department of Education (DepEd) stated in its DepEd Memorandum No. 143, s. 2016 titled “Reiteration of the No Collection Policy from the Parents-Teachers Association” that no fees shall be collected from school children in Kindergarten up to Grade 4 anytime during the school year, while no collection of fees shall be made for Grade 5 to High School students from June to July. The allowable collections must be voluntary (optional) in nature and are directly related to a student’s membership in the school community.  These consist of the following: Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP), Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Anti-TB Fund Drive, Parents-Teachers Association (PTAs), School Publication, and Membership in pupil/ student organizations. In fact, DepEd reminded teachers last November 2016 to not collect fees from school children for extra-curricular activities such as Christmas parties, citing the said DepEd Memo (Vestil, 2016). 

     

    Ethically, teachers are professionals who, by the virtue of their noble profession and vocation, possess dignity and reputation with high moral values, as per the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers.  Teachers and learning institutions must recognize that the students’ interest and welfare are their first concern.  Unnecessary financial expenditures from students which are not related to their learning is unethical and in fact explicitly discouraged by DepEd (DepEd Memo No. 143, s. 2016).  Particularly if it is collecting from minor children whether voluntary or not without their parents’ consent, such is like stealing from children.  

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    Dr. Antonio N. Torralba gave his thoughts and stand on school contributions as well. He is a University Fellow and Trustee of the University of Asia & the Pacific, Founding Director of Southridge School for Boys, and Founding Director of Westbridge School for Boys:

     

    Money and finances, outside of tuition and official miscellaneous items, have been delicate and sensitive matters between parents and school. The primary mandate of the school is to ensure that teaching and learning take place. Accreditation does call for research and extension work, which are good in themselves, but these two have to be transparent and voluntary most especially in the basic education level, that is, all the way from pre-school to at least junior high school. 

      

    Social responsibility is good and beneficial to the total development of the child, but it is something necessarily voluntary on the part of the parents, and children in basic education cannot be made to decide for themselves without awareness from and clearance by parents. 

      

    A proven method to encourage parents to help the school in carrying out social responsibility and concern is through parent coordinators for classrooms and levels, and even school-wide through a PTA system. It is of course expedient that pupils and students themselves get actively involved in the social projects of the school. Hence, social responsibility should be a matter that concerns parents, teachers, staff, and pupils/students in various modes. It cannot be the exclusive domain of any sector in the school. 

     

     

    What should parents or guardians do when an unallowable or unexplainable requirement to give money is being demanded from them by the school of their child? If the child is being treated unfairly because of non-participation, these are the steps parents and guardians may take: 

     

    According to Attorney Ellen Abesamis- Quinto:

     

    There are several ways in which this illegal solicitation from students may be addressed.  It is highly suggested that the parents concerned bring the matter to the attention of the school administrators either by themselves or through the parents’ organization (PTA) in school.  This would give all parties the opportunity to discuss the issues amicably and resolve them within the bounds of the school. 

     

    In the event that this forum does not bring about the desired results, the parents concerned may file an administrative complaint before the Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Office.  DepEd Order No. 11 s. 2011, confers jurisdiction to the DepEd Regional Director to investigate and discipline private schools.  A fact-finding/preliminary investigation shall be undertaken when such private school is being complained of as an institution/entity or when the acts of its officers go against any law or DepEd Issuances. 

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    If the child is harassed in any way or treated with bias because of non-participation on the school’s money collection, what can parents do? 

     

    When as a result of this illegal activity, any child gets harassed in any way or treated with bias because of non-participation on the school’s money collection, the parents may file a complaint under Republic Act No. 7610, which covers all forms of child abuses, including psychological abuse. 

     

                ****Reference: NCR Regional Memorandum No. 22, s. 2016 (February 29, 2016)

     

    Moms, dads, and guardians, let’s not be shy or lazy to voice out our rights. Of course We hope everything can be settled properly without legal battles first. Here are some things we can do:

     

    1.    First, write a letter to the school for clarifications and explanations and inform them of the incident as well.

    2.    If the school is uncooperative or if both parties cannot come up with a resolution, gather necessary documents for a formal report to DepEd (Department of Education)

    3.    Call or email DepEd public assistance station for any complaints, concerns, and questions at 636-1669, 633-1942, 0919-456-0027, and through action@deped.gov.ph

     

    Donations and contributions (in money or in kind) should not affect in any way the academic and school life of a child. The school is a child’s second home and everything that happens there becomes second nature to them. Parents and teachers should all be working hand in hand to help the child develop to the best person he is and shun everything that will teach students how to be inappropriate, corrupt, selfish, and unfair.

     

    The Department of Education reminds all schools yearly on this no collection policy and reiterates that the law is always in effect.

     

    Parents and guardians must be aware of this law to protect them from the abusive, unfair, and unlawful practices of some schools.

     

    References : 

     

    Board of Professional Teachers Board Resolution No. 435, s. 1997. (2017). Code of Ethics

                                        for Professional Teachers.

    Department of Education Memorandum No. 143, s. 2016. (2016.) Reiteration of the no  collection policy from the parents-teachers association. 

    Vestil, J.K. (November 14, 2016). DepEd to teachers: Don’t collect contributions for X-mas parties. Retrieved from http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/local-news/2016/11/14/deped-teachers-dont-collect-contributions-x-mas-parties-509467 on 22 August 2017.

     

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