Senator Idol Raffy Tulfo filed a measure instituting a policy that prohibits the mandatory collection of any fees or contributions from students attending public elementary and secondary schools.

In filing Senate Bill (SB) No. 2420, Tulfo said students from public schools are mostly from the poorest of the poor families and burdening them with required extra fees only discourage them from pursuing their studies.

“By implementing a no collection policy in public schools, this bill seeks to eliminate the barriers that hinder the enrollment and retention of students.

“Families with limited financial means will no longer face out-of-pocket costs associated with sending their children to school, thus promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities in education,” the bill read.

Under SB No. 2420, no fees shall be collected from school children enrolling in pre-school up to Grade IV, during the enrollment period and at any time during the school year.

For grade and year levels beyond Grade 4, no collection of any type should be undertaken during the enrolment period and the first month of classes. Starting on the second month, contributions for some memberships may be collected, but only on a voluntary basis and should not be demanded, including boy/girl scouts and red cross memberships, among others.

Tulfo’s proposed legislation is grounded in the recognition of the constitutional mandate for the provision of free public education at the elementary and secondary levels.

Moreover, it aligns with the country’s commitment to achieving the Education For All (EFA) Plan 2015 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly concerning primary school participation. (AI/MNM)