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Editorial: Spare the poor

Pupils and students, with their parents in tow, will march or have marched on their school stages and multipurpose centers to close the latest chapter in their studies.In private schools, the so-called moving up ceremonies maybe grandiose as parents can afford to shell out large amounts of money just so they can show to their children that they care. In some cases, this is justified, in others this is not.

In public schools, however, becoming extravagant is never a choice even when parents want to. It is not only very difficult for them to send their children to school – even if education in public schools should have been free – because there are other expenditures aside from tuition, some of them unnecessary.

In its order in February, the Education department said only those senior high school students, or those in Grade 12, must hold graduation ceremonies.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones was also quoted as saying that those in kindergarten and other grade levels may also hold moving up exercises provided that these events be made simply in line with the austerity measures of government. But will officials of public schools heed this call?

The problem is that in most cases, public school officials, with the prodding of some not-so-affluent parents, would always want their students to spend for these activities even when holding these will lead a family or two to not having dinner the next day. There are even some of these officials, except those who really are kind ones, who have the penchant of  whispering out loud that they be given gifts for giving recognition to some favored students.

It is high time that the department make a serious move to punish those who are erring officials not only to protect the poor, but also to inculcate the value of frugality and honesty among them and their students.

A clear-cut set of guidelines that carry penalty provisions will ensure that orders are followed to the letter.

 

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