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DepEd Confirms Alphabetical Recognition of Honor Students

DepEd Confirms Alphabetical Recognition of Honor Students

The Department of Education (DepEd) has issued a memorandum, available for public viewing on their official website, that provides clarification on its 2016 order concerning award-giving policies under the K to 12 curriculum in the Philippines. This memorandum, dated May 27, 2021, has sparked a significant amount of discussion and debate.

The memorandum states, “No longer will there be titles of valedictorian and salutatorian. The concept of Top 1 is also abolished. Announcements of students with highest honors, with high honors, and with honors should be made in alphabetical order, not from highest to lowest within categories.” This post is based on the aforementioned memorandum.

The 2016 order, which this memorandum aims to clarify, was designed by DepEd to foster equality rather than competition in the pursuit of academic excellence. It emphasized that students possess “unique strengths” that should be “identified, strengthened, and publicly acknowledged.” The order encouraged a shift away from solely valuing high academic achievement based on grades, towards recognizing and celebrating a broad spectrum of student accomplishments.

However, the 2021 memorandum specifically focuses on academic excellence awards. In each category (with highest honors, with high honors, with honors), students will be called alphabetically, irrespective of their final averages. For instance, DepEd provided an example with three students: Margarita Aragon with a 92 final average, Juana Dela Cruz with 91, and Jesus Zaragosa with 94. According to the memorandum, Margarita Aragon would be announced first, followed by Juana Dela Cruz and Jesus Zaragosa.

The memorandum has elicited mixed reactions. Some netizens have lauded DepEd’s decision, praising it for promoting fairness and reducing self-esteem issues and comparisons related to grades. However, others have criticized the memorandum, arguing that it is unfair and invalidates the hard work of students. They believe that outstanding academic performance, which can open doors to numerous opportunities, including scholarships at prestigious colleges, should be recognized and rewarded appropriately.

In conclusion, the DepEd’s 2021 memorandum on award-giving policies under the K to 12 curriculum has stirred a lively debate about the recognition of academic excellence in the Philippines. As the discussion continues, it remains to be seen how this policy will impact students and the broader educational landscape in the country.