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Private schools react sharply against DepEd order to reshuffle regional, division officials

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By Merlina Malipot

A federation of private schools on Wednesday expressed concern over the latest move of the Department of Education (DepEd) to reassign some of its officials in the regional and school division offices,  noting that this might jeopardize what is already “a perfect setup” between the two education sectors.

The Federation of Associations of Private Schools Administrators (FAPSA) said that Education Secretary Leonor Briones was “rocking the perfect setup” of school division superintendents and regional directors which are expected to be reassigned anytime this July.

FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag (FAPSA Facebook group / MANILA BULLETIN)

FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag
(FAPSA Facebook group / MANILA BULLETIN)

“There was a feeling of anxiety from each president of private schools association whose smooth program with their respective incumbent superintendents shall be affected by this ‘rigodon’ which shall take place anytime,” said FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag after meeting with some heads of private schools.

In DepEd Order No. 16 series of 2019 signed by Briones last July 12, the policies on selection/ appointment and transfer/reassignment of regional officials issued through then Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) Order no. 7 s. 1999 were amended.

In the old DECS Order, it was cited that RDs and ARDs may only be transferred or reassigned “every three years but may be retained in the same region for another three years only.” Originally, the transfers/reassignments of ASDSs and SDSs “shall be done every five years” and as a matter of policy, “no ARD and ASDS shall be promoted in his/her region and division of assignments, respectively.”

Briones, in the new DepEd Order, announced the amendment on the policy of reassignment of third level officials in the regional schools and division offices. In particular, the amendment cites a “simultaneous transfer/reassignment of Regional Directors (RDs), Assistant Regional Directors (ARDs), Schools Division Superintendents (SDSs) and Assistant Schools Division Superintendents (ASDSs) once every three years.”

Under “exceptional” circumstances – particularly in the exigency of the service and subject to the discretion of the Secretary – the newly-issued DepEd Order cited that the “tenure of service of the RDs and ARDs in a given station may be shortened or extended beyond what is stated” in the order.

The simultaneous transfer or reassignment for ARDs and SDSs, Briones said, shall be implemented this July 2019 while January 2020 for all RDs and ASDSs. “They shall be simultaneously transferred/reassigned every three years,” she added.

‘Premature’

For FAPSA, the latest order on transfer or reassignment of local DepEd officials was “premature” noting that some officials “have not even warmed up their seats.”

“It will hurt a very sound platform conceptualized for three years between the private school associations in each school division with their respective superintendent and FAPSA is the federation of all these associations, Kasilag said.

Given this, FAPSA appealed for Briones to “at least let the SDS and ARD and RD finish the mandated years of office before the transfer” noting that “the three years is not even enough.” Kasilag clarified that the FAPSA “does not question the authority” of the DepEd Chief. “But owing to disruption of well-crafted policy with the private school administrators, we beg the secretary to maintain the status quo and let her policy take its effect after three years in consideration of the private schools,” he said. “After all, the best law is the one that shall most positively apply to her subjects – any shortcut is not helpful,” he added.

Kasilag noted that the “sad predicament” of private schools now was that they were “never considered” when DepEd issued the new order. “Private schools administrators feel we are really taken for granted as ‘non-DepEd’ schools,” he said.

FAPSA member-schools, Kasilag noted, also have an arrangement with their superintendent – as well as our regional directors – to help them “collect” from those parents whose children transferred to public schools with big unpaid accounts. “We also have plans to remedy the exodus of teachers to public schools with unfinished contracts with us and there are also joint seminars worked out between private and public school teachers – what will happen now?” he asked.

While the officers-in-charge (OICs) are expected to carry out some arrangements, FAPSA fears that bigger adjustments will have to be made. “The cordial relations have to be established anew and sometimes the new regional director or superintendent has other things in mind where the thrust is purely for the public schools,” he ended.

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