LEGAZPI CITY, Mar. 14 (PIA) – With the school year drawing to a close, the Department of Education (DepEd) of the Bicol region has reminded schools administrators to keep graduation rites simple and meaningful.

Based on DepEd’s school calendar, graduation ceremonies in public schools this year will be held this coming April 7, and would be centered on the theme: “Sabay-sabay na Hakbang Tungo sa Maunlad na Kinabukasan (Stepping Together Towards a Prosperous Future).”

In a statement released by the department, DepEd-Bicol regional director Ramon Fiel Abcede advised that graduation rites should be done without excessive spending, extravagant attire, and expensive venue. Under the provisions of the “No Collection” policy of DepEd, he said that there should be no mandatory collection of fees in connection to graduation or moving-up ceremonies.

Aside from unnecessary payment collection, the director also stressed the fact that schools should not impose non-academic requirements upon graduating students, especially those that will just cause additional burden to students.

School heads were also directed by Director Abcede to immediately hand-out the ‘certificate of graduation’ or ‘certificate of completion’ to all students on-stage during the completion ceremonies. He also pointed out that school clearances are no longer required.

“It should be clear to all that school clearance is not a requirement for graduation, moving-up ceremonies, or for the closing exercises,” said the director.

During the department’s Regional Management Committee Meeting that was held in Masbate last month, DepEd-Bicol assistant regional director Tolentino Aquino reiterated the “end of school year rites” for school year 2016-2017. As per the ARD, how the closure of the school year would be governed by DepEd’s Department Order No. 08 series of 2017.

As indicated on the said Department Order, mandatory charges on graduation and completion rites are prohibited as their expenses are already covered under the “Schools Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses” of the 2017 budget. However, the order also said that donations are allowed, and contributions may be accepted but in a complete voluntary basis only. (MAL/JBE-PIA5)