No mandatory contributions for Christmas parties

No mandatory contributions for Christmas parties
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MANDATORY contributions, both monetary and in kind, for Christmas party celebrations in public schools are strictly prohibited, according to an education official.

Director Salustiano Jimenez of the Department of Education in Central Visayas (DepEd 7), reminded teachers that there should be no compulsory contributions and that all should be voluntary when conducting school parties.

He urged teachers to take into account the economic situation of students, as some parents might not be able to contribute extra from their pocket.

“We are aware of the difficulties now. If possible, we still celebrate in a meaningful but not overly lavish way, as some may be unable to attend, and it avoids unnecessary expenses,” he told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023.

Salustiano said the Christmas season is the perfect time for teachers to bring joy to their students by covering, if not all, some of the expenses.

The director, drawing on his previous experiences as a teacher in public schools, suggested that teachers could contribute by preparing dishes like spaghetti and providing party giveaways for their students.

True essence

He mentioned that no student would be prevented from participating in Christmas school parties due to a lack of voluntary contribution or the absence of a prepared gift.

“What would the child feel? Christmas is giving... sharing... forgiving, then it will become Christmas is discrimination? That is not right,” he said.

He added that teachers should help students learn and understand the true essence of the celebration, which is the birth of Jesus Christ.

“It is not right that during Christmas parties, a student would cry because he or she is not allowed to join for not bringing any contribution,” he added.

Last year, Vice President Sara Duterte and the concurrent Education Secretary released Department Order 52 emphasizing that “celebrations in schools and DepEd offices, as far as practicable, should be simple yet meaningful.”

Other guidelines mentioned in the order are the following:

•Learners should not be excluded from attending the Christmas party if they do not contribute voluntarily or bring a prepared gift.

•Rather than excessive spending, gift giving should be guided by a spirit of sharing.

•No DepEd learner or personnel should be forced to contribute, participate, or use their money for the celebration.

•Old Christmas decorations should be recycled; purchase of new decorations is not encouraged.

•Contributions for school or office celebrations, whether in cash or kind, should be strictly voluntary.

•DepEd employees should be reminded that solicitations for Christmas parties or holiday celebrations, whether in cash or kind, are not allowed.

Private schools, community learning centers, as well as state and local universities and colleges have the option to adopt the provisions for their events and celebrations, the agency said.

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