Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones (PNA photo by Ma. Teresa Montemayor)

MANILA -- A few days before the Christmas break, Education Secretary Leonor Briones reminded public schools not to impose mandatory contributions or solicitations for their students' Christmas parties.

"We're just reiterating an earlier memorandum from 2009, contributions for celebrations should be strictly voluntary, walang sapilitan (no one will be obliged to give)," she said in a press briefing on Monday.

Briones added that Christmas decorations in classrooms and schools should be simple and inexpensive.

"Siguro iyong mga recycled decorations lang, gaya dito siguro those who have been covering us for many years, sinasabi siguro, hinukay na naman sa baul (Recycled decorations would do... those who have been covering us for many years might say, [our decorations are] have been the same) and this is a very common practice here)," she said.

Stressing that gift-giving must be done in the spirit of sharing, Briones reminded teachers and students to refrain from extravagant spending.

She also said any disruption of academic activities to make way for Christmas parties must be voluntary.

Elementary and secondary students in public schools nationwide will have their Christmas break on December 15 up to January. Classes will resume on January 2, 2019. (PNA)