Same as last year: DepEd eyes 26 million enrollees for next school year

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2021 06:41 PM

Parents submit the Learner Enrollment Survey Form of their children in a drop box at the Rosauro Almario Elementary School in Tondo, Manila on Tuesday.
Parents submit the Learner Enrollment Survey Form of their children in a drop box at the Rosauro Almario Elementary School in Tondo, Manila on Tuesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Department of Education is eyeing to have 26 million students registered in basic education for the coming school year, the same enrollment figure as the previous year, Secretary Leonor Briones said Tuesday, amid continuing pandemic restrictions on physical classes. 

But Briones admitted that there are factors that may affect the enrollment figures, especially in private schools, such as "the state of the economy."

"Kung puwede ma-match natin 'yong last year, happy na tayo," Briones said in a virtual press conference.

(If we can match last year's enrollment figures, we'll be happy.)

As of early Tuesday, more than 7.9 million students have registered in basic education, according to DepEd data. It still excludes enrollment from the Alternative Learning System and Philippine schools overseas.

Of the figure, 4.5 million are those that underwent early registration, 3.1 million come from public schools, while over 164,000 are from private schools.

"Ito (this is) related sa state of economy, particularly of NCR (National Capital Region)," Briones said of the current enrollment figures.

"So sana, kung aayos ang ekonomiya natin, aayos ang employment situation natin, lalo na sa NCR, magiging maayos din ang enrollment natin sa private sector," she added.

(If our economy recovers, our employment situation becomes better, especially in NCR, we can have better enrollment in the private sector.)

The education chief noted the migration from private to public schools among students and teachers.

"Hindi lamang ang learners ang nagma-migrate, nagma-migrate din ang teachers. Ang mga galing sa small private schools or even not so small private schools, nagma-migrate sa public schools," she said without providing figures.

(Learners are not the only ones migrating but also teachers. Those from small private schools or even not so small private schools migrate to public schools.)

Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, in the same briefing, said the DepEd would continue to implement subsidies given to private school students, such as the Senior High School Voucher Program.

Asked whether the DepEd can expand the coverage of the subsidies, Briones said it would still have to go through a process and that it depends on the available budget.

Some 26.6 million learners enrolled in basic education in the previous academic year, when the implementation of distance learning started in Philippine schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The figure was down by a million compared to School Year 2019-2020.

Public school enrollment for School Year 2021-2022 began last Aug. 16 and is set to end on Sept. 13, also the first day of classes. Meanwhile, the DepEd allowed private schools to start classes as early as June.