In governing private schools

    There is an ongoing talk about the status of private schools in the province and how they are being run in accordance to the existing educational policies in the country. So much has been said about the alleged favoritism or unprofessional practices in several private schools but seldom parents come out in public to share their sad stories and experiences.

    Recently though, Punto was invited in a press conference where a group of teachers and parents presented an alarming story about Westfields International School in Angeles City. Lilian A. David, a resident of Angeles City, filed a complaint before the Department of Education (Dep Ed) last April 2, 2009 regarding the alleged favoritism and malpractice of Westfields administration.

    In her complaint, David claimed that the school deprived her daughter, Dale Arehl A. David, of her rightful claim as being the Grade 6 class valedictorian for the school year 2008-2009. She was not even awarded anything despite the fact the she garnered the highest academic general average in her class.

    According to Lilian, her daughter was a consistent A student as attested by 10 of her teachers at Westfields. Based on the records of Westfields International School for 2008-2009, Arehl obtained a general average of 96.74 percent making her the top among her class. However, two days before their graduation last March 25, 2009, Lilian was told by the grade school vice principal, Myla Diano, that her daughter is not the class valedictorian. Lilian said that the worst part of it was the fact that her daughter was not given any single award despite her excellent performance. But the ironic part is, Arehl was asked to deliver a “speech of thanks” although she was not given a copy of the programme prior to the event.

    During a deliberation among the Grade 6 teachers and re-computation of the students’ grades, majority of the Grade 6 teachers allegedly agreed that Arehl should have been named as the valedictorian because she gained the highest grade. But the principal, Violeta De Jesus, allegedly insisted that the decision in favor of another student was final.

    So despite the protests from the teachers, the parents of Arehl and despite the glaring fact that she garnered the highest academic general average in her class, Arehl got nothing.

    And after the brouhaha, eight of the Grade 6 teachers who supported Arehl were allegedly asked by the principal to file resignations as “graceful exit” from the school. In an interview with one of the teachers, Christian Joy Carillo also known as Teacher Cyan, said that their annual contract with Westfields ended March 30, 2009. Sadly, the principal administration asked them to file resignations and refused to renew their contracts.

    All the eight teachers are now resigned from Westfields International School. Meanwhile, the complaint filed by Lilian before DepEd was referred by the national office to DepEd Region 3. They have not heard anything from the region so far.

    In her complaint, Lilian said “this whole incident made a big impact to my very young daughter…it affected her trust in others…she is less motivated…instead of her graduation being memorable, it was traumatic.”

    She added that the anxiety and suffering of their family is “immeasurable” and asked DepEd to rectify the said “injustice.”

    What bothers me about this story is the fact that Westfields International School is one of the biggest if not the top schools in the province in terms of high standards in education. According to Lilian, they were getting more information about other families with the same bad experience.

    If the David case is not an isolated one, then the DepEd should act fast on this complaint if only to prevent such incident from becoming a precedent in the same school or in other private schools as well.

    Parents move heaven and earth just to provide the best education for their children but with experiences like this, it is truly depressing to think that we have a government that provide less priority to educational standards and ethics.

    Not only the DepEd is asked to check the policies of Westfields and other private schools in relation to their policies and guidelines for excellence awards or incentives. The local government and the Congress are also asked to review our existing laws on private school administrations from the issues on tuition fees, regulatory charges, performance ratings, grading system and ethical practices.

    Lilian said they used to live in Netherlands but because of her willingness to instill among her children the Filipino and Kapampangan values, she opted to enroll her children to Westfields. But as she said, “sadly, this is what my daughter gets.”

    He other daughter, a high school student is also enrolled at Westfields. But she plans to transfer them to Manila by June.

    Although we cannot blame them, it is still disappointing to see our kabalens look for other schools outside Pampanga just to seek better options for their children’s education. Too bad.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here