DepEd urged to put 'special emphasis' on BARMM amid low enrollee turnout

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2022 08:34 PM

 Children enjoy playing by a river near the Grand Mosque in Cotabato City, January 24, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Children enjoy playing by a river near the Grand Mosque in Cotabato City, January 24, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) continues to record a low turnout of enrollees in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as shown by the data submitted by the agency on Friday to the Senate Basic Education committee.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, the panel's chairperson, pointed out the low turnout of BARMM enrollees for basic education from school year 2012 to 2013 and 2020 to 2021.
 
From the student turnout of 791,519 for school year 2011-2012, it yearly decreased as shown by the following DepEd data:
 

  • 2012 to 2013 -- 744,872
  • 2013 to 2014 -- 723,043
  • 2014 to 2015 -- 660,725
  • 2015 to 2016 -- 611,929
  • 2016 to 2017 -- 628,725
  • 2017 to 2018 -- 605,195
  • 2018 to 2019 -- 619,768
  • 2019 to 2020 -- 622,077
  • 2020 to 2021 -- 596,060 

 
Gatchalian stressed the importance of education in achieving peace in the region.
 
“The trend for elementary, for junior high school is going down. I know there’s a working relationship between DepEd and BARMM under the BARMM Law. However, we need to put special emphasis to BARMM. Because a way to achieve peace in the region is to educate our children… It’s a way for them also to gain meaningful jobs. But if the enrollment is going down… then we’re not fulfilling that mandate to educate them and deliver peace in that area,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian said the enrollee turnout in BARMM is far from what is being registered in other regions.
 
“On a system wide it’s quite encouraging, it’s about 99 percent nationwide. But BARMM is an outlier. BARMM is below 89 percent in terms of enrollment,” Gatchalian pointed out.
 
Education Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said the agency is doing everything to continuously encourage BARMM parents to send their children to school.
 
Densing said Bangsamoro Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical Education Mohagher Iqbal in their recent dialogue already asked for assistance from the national government.
 
Iqbal’s most urgent request to the national government is to assist them in constructing school building and to assist the region and be also covered by the GASTPE (Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education).
 
“Sa aming pananaw yung kanilang P75 billion a year is not enough to fund their school buildings,” Densing said.
 
Densing was referring to the yearly “block grant” given by the national government to BARMM.

—Report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News