With graduation ceremonies being held left and right, it would seem that some educational institutions no longer honor a Department of Education (DepEd) order which discourages inviting politicians as guest speakers in an effort to maintain the neutrality and non-partisanship of schools.
DepEd Order No. 7 series of 2016 states that school rites should be simple and apolitical. The said order is apparently aimed at insulating the graduating students from unscrupulous politicians who may use the occasion to promote themselves, dish out lies and distort the truth before the eyes of those who hold the very key to our country’s future.
There is no doubt that it is just hard to keep these politicians from virtually politicizing any event where they are given the opportunity to speak. Some do it indirectly while others shamelessly do it directly.
Sad to say, there are some school authorities who use graduation ceremonies as a venue to develop close connections to politicians whom they may have some use in the future, at the expense of the students.
Graduation rites should be nothing but an appropriate and solemn ceremony that befits the graduates and their parents instead of it being used as a forum for politics.
While there is no specific rule barring politicians from attending commencement exercises and graduation rites as guest speakers, it must be incumbent upon the school officials to not use such events to help politicians advance their personal interests. If such could not really be avoided since a school is neck-deep in debt to a certain politician, there must at least be measures to ensure that such events will not be used to talk politics.
Those who could not help but use the graduation ceremonies as a way of establishing ties to certain politicians should at least make sure that the speeches will be purely ‘inspirational’ and that the personality himself is qualified to do so. At the very least, his service record in government must be spotless.
Imagine inviting a guest speaker who had been linked to or convicted of crimes involving issues related to the posts he has held or continue to hold such as stealing from government coffers?
Students might get the wrong notion that even if you commit a crime while in office or is convicted for it, you are still worth looking up to as in fact, you have been asked to address a special occasion such as a graduation ceremony.
Schools must also be prudent enough to do away with getting sponsors for medals. Receiving medals with a politician’s name etched on it cheapens the event and the honor itself.
Most of the time, these politicians will make full use of the occasion and get their money’s worth by not only putting their names on medals but even their photo-shopped faces. There are no rules or guidelines prohibiting this but it is a matter of scruples, something which most of our politicians of today just lack.
The long and short of it is this. Only by keeping politicians away from graduation ceremonies can this even become truly simple, solemn and meaningful.
LETRAN KEPT GRADUATION APOLITICAL -- In connection with the topic, it is highly laudable that the Colegio de San Juan de Letran kept its graduation ceremonies truly apolitical by not inviting any politician to serve as guest speakers.
School officials thus succeeded in confining the speakers to school authorities and students receiving the highest honors. It was indeed a special event to the graduating students who were made to enjoy their moment, along with their parents and or guardians.
Letran stuck to the order by choice probably knowing that it is what is right and proper. Hope it will be emulated by other schools and universities.
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