MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Monday 440 private schools would be temporarily ceasing operations in the coming academic year due to lack of enrollees.
Of the 14,435 private schools in the country, 440 have so far said they will not operate for school year 2020 to 2021, according to data from the DepEd.
Education Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo attributed the closure to the low enrollment turnout in these schools.
Central Luzon had the most number of private schools that will suspend operations with 88, followed by Calabarzon with 67, and the National Capital Region with 54.
The Bangsamoro region has yet to submit figures on private schools that will not be operating this year.
DepEd officials earlier said the dismal enrollment in private schools was due to the COVID-19 pandemic's effects on the income of families.
As of Monday morning, 1.7 million students have enrolled in private schools, DepEd data showed. The figure was 41.47 percent of 4.3 million or the total number of private schools students last year.
The number of private school students who have transferred to public schools reached 398,010 as of Monday, according to the DepEd.
The DepEd has allowed private schools to start classes earlier than October 5, the agency's prescribed date, as long as they implement remote methods of learning and follow health protocols.
Escobedo said 1,394 private schools have started classes as of August 24. More than 6,000 schools are expected to open between August 24 to October 5, he added.
Government seeks to provide assistance to private school teachers whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.