THERE was this report about complaints from parents of children enrolled in public schools regarding the collection of contributions and the cost of projects that teachers assign to their pupils/students, an added expense to parents who can barely afford to send their children to school. Little do the teachers realize that these expenses may have something to do with the high number of dropouts among students in the primary and secondary levels.

Earlier, the education department had issued a memorandum telling schools not to prevent students from taking their examinations even if they have not paid their school fees.

Schools use the mid-term and semester examinations to collect tuition.

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The threat is that those who cannot not pay won’t be allowed to take the test. Thus, poor parents are forced to look for someone who could lend them the amount.

Some schools, though, are compassionate enough to allow students to write promissory notes to the school registrar, promising to pay at a future date. Of course, one cannot blame the schools since they also have to fight for their survival.

Take the University of Cebu. For it to remain competitive with other schools in Cebu, it has to offer incentives to its students, such as awarding cash or cars to its achievers.

UC is also a school that accepts promissory notes from students who find themselves in a financial bind during school examinations. I know of students who owe UC thousands of pesos in tuition. They only need to tell the management of their problem, and they get the assistance.

Of course, other schools may be extending the same kind of compassion to students. UP, in my time, had a student loan fund that I was able to avail of for four years.

Anyway, what the parents have also been complaining about is the fees for activities that the school can do without. These activities include nature lovers outing, contributions for a sinulog party, or payment for the cost of test questionnaires (I thought is covered by the DepEd budget) or to pay for a booklet of raffle tickets, and contribution for a school paper that does not come out at all.

In these times when the prices of basic commodities are rising by 15 to 20 percent, even a peso with already a meaningless value at the moment can count a lot when saved and added up.

Thus, school teachers would be a great help if they bring down the cost of acquiring quality basic education for our kids.