MANILA— The number of enrollees in public and private schools has reached 21.9 million days before the new school year opens, a "very good trend" in enrollment on the second year of remote learning, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Friday.
This is 83.6 percent of the 26 million total enrollment last year, when government had to implement distance learning and bar physical classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said.
"We see this as a very good trend for our enrolment this year," he told TeleRadyo, adding enrolment will continue until Monday, Sept. 13, when the new school year starts.
He said enrollments in Cagayan Valley and Caraga had surpassed the 2020 turnout.
DepEd figures as of Sept. 9 show there were 15.3 million students enrolled in public schools while 1.1 in private schools.
More than 23,000 students were enrolled in state and local universities and colleges while some 4.5 million signed up for early registration, the data also revealed.
On Sept. 13, classes will still open under distance learning, as President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to allow the proposed pilot test of in-person classes in some 100 schools in the country.
Should face-to-face classes be conducted, Malaluan said it would be limited to kindergarten and grades 1 to 3. Classes will only have up to 14 students and limited to 3 hours.
The Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia that has yet to hold in-person classes for basic education since the pandemic, even on a limited scale to supplement distance-learning modalities, groups had said.
Duterte has twice rejected the proposed pilot, the latest in February, because the COVID-19 vaccination drive had yet to be launched then.