Public schools can use private schools' underutilized facilities, manpower: group

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 13 2020 06:59 PM

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MANILA — The public school system can use the resources of private schools, which are expected to be underutilized in the coming academic year, so more students can learn through online classes, a group of administrators said Thursday.

Many private schools have been doing online learning even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but their facilities and manpower may be underused due to the low enrollment turnout this year, according to Joseph Noel Estrada, managing director of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea).

"If we're talking about online delivery, maraming private schools talaga 'yong ready diyan. Mayroong facilities, equipment, human resources, well-trained teachers," Estrada told Teleradyo.

"Ang minumungkahi ko... why not the public school system utilize the resources of the private schools ?" he said.

Only 1.5 million learners have enrolled in private schools for the coming school year, DepEd data showed Thursday morning. The figure is only 37 percent of the 4.3 million private school students last year.

Estrada said he doubts whether private schools would even reach 50 percent of its enrollment last year.

DepEd data showed that 394,599 private school students have transferred to public schools for this school year.

Estrada attributed the low private school enrollment turnout to the coronavirus pandemic's effects on the income of families.

"Definitely, the number one reason is financial, based in our own survey and observation... maraming nawalan ng trabaho, maraming naapektuhan na negosyo," he said.

Some private school students also chose to skip the year while others opted to undergo homeschooling, said Estrada.

Some 400 Cocopea member-schools earlier said they may close down by the end of August due to depleting resources and low enrollment.