A French national and several others are pursuing complaints for estafa against a local school for kindergarten and elementary for operating without permits.
The complainants, who sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation, identified the school as Arjun Learning Center (ALC) in Pulantubig, Dumaguete City, owned and operated by Victoria Aro Sadia, who is the school directress.
The French national, who refused to be identified, has three children enrolled in the ALC for school year 2018-2019, a Kinder 3, Grade 4, and Grade 6. But when he decided to transfer and enroll his kids to a science school in June this year, he was informed that their names could not be found in the Department of Education Learner Information System (LIS).
He was told the school is not registered, so the names of his children were not in the registry, and their school attendance was invalid.
DepEd Dumaguete City Division Supt. Evangel Luminarias issued a certification dated June 6, 2019 that, based on their records, Arjun Learning Center in Pulantubig was issued a temporary permit for kindergarten effective school year 2019-2020 yet, stating, in effect, that its operation for school year 2018-2019 is not recognized.
The complaining parents said the implication is so harsh, because while the students are in school, they are considered tambays or out-of-school youth, aside from the one-year period being wasted.
At first, the parents merely want their money back or a refund, but to no avail, so they resorted to legal action through the help of the NBI Dumaguete.
Special agent Ma. Contessa Lastimoso was informed a remedy was in store for the school children concerned to enroll to the next level by passing the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) and Equivalency Program which they already took in June this year.
The result will be known in September this year.
In her assessment, Lastimoso said this is a simple case of estafa involving a small amount of money over which NBI has no jurisdiction. However, as part of public service, the NBI cannot turn its back, and suggests the filing of the complaint before the Court of Small Claims, and that they have options to pursue claims for moral damages that will have to go through court proceedings.
Due this development, DepEd is now enjoined to check on the integrity of residential buildings being converted into classrooms, including facilities, like in the case of the Arjun Learning Center in Pulantubig.
The parents disclosed that kindergarten students are holding classes in the sala, while grades 1 to 3 pupils are placed in one classroom, and grades 4 to 6 in another classroom.
The parents, however, said they have good teachers, the directress herself being a teacher. Tuition is not that high, P17,000 for the whole year for kindergarten, and about P20,000 for the elementary, including books.*
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