DepEd reports successful opening of classes

The Department of Education (DepEd) Information and Action Center (IAC) today
reported a weeklong successful opening of classes for school year 2008-09.
Through the IAC, DepEd provided a quick response to queries, complaints and
requests from the public during the hectic back-to-school week from June 2 to 13.
Education Secretary Jesli Lapus observed that there were less calls received this
year and attributes this to the “active information drive of the department to
assure the public of its policies and programs.”

He added, “Once again we have proven to our public that the Department of
Education is one big action center.”

During its first week, there were 240 cases received, of which 41% were
requests, 33% complaints and 25% were inquiries. Meanwhile, 374 cases were
received last year, of which 63% were complaints, 28% inquiries and 10%
requests. A consolidated report including those from the regions is still being
processed.

Most complaints received were on the collection of fees by some schools. Prior to
school opening, DepEd issued strict orders for school heads to refrain from
collecting fees as a requisite for enrollment. Education Secretary Jesli Lapus
stressed that the DepEd will not tolerate illegal practices in public schools.
Meanwhile, most inquiries were on the accreditation tests that were offered free,
in time for the 2008 Independence Day celebration. Of the requests received by
the IAC, most were on admission to public high schools.
DepEd regional directors and schools division superintendents were directed to
designate two action officers to oversee regional and local concerns similar to
IAC in the central office.

Education Undersecretary for Regional Affairs and IAC Officer Ramon Bacani
noted the importance of evaluating the nature of the complaints, inquiries and
requests that IAC received from the public, and the manner with which the
Department responded to these cases. He added, “Let it be clear that today is not
the end of the action center as it is an ongoing activity.”

He expressed gratitude to those who worked at the IAC in the DepEd Central
Office as well as in the regions, “for their patience, resourcefulness, and courtesy
to our public.”

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