MANILA (UPDATE)—Over 25.5 million have registered in basic education for School Year 2021-2022, the Department of Education reported Tuesday, a day after public schools resumed classes and the agency extended the enrollment period.
The latest figure brings the DepEd closer to meeting its target of matching last school year's 26.2 million enrollees.
Of the 25.5 enrollees, 19.4 million are in public schools while 1.5 million are in private schools, according to DepEd data.
The data also showed that 50,537 are enrolled in state universities and colleges or local universities and colleges that offer basic education.
Over 4.5 million, meanwhile, are learners who went through early registration earlier this year.
Education officials have said the total enrollment figure has yet to include those registered in the Alternative Learning System and Philippine schools overseas.
Based on the data, enrollment in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Caraga, Bangsamoro and the Cordillera Administrative Region have exceeded their 2020 turnout.
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan earlier said this may indicate "that some learners who skipped the last school year are now re-enrolling."
Data on private school students who transferred to public schools this year is not yet available, DepEd officials said.
On Monday, as the DepEd opened School Year 2021-2022, the agency also announced it would allow late enrollment until Sept. 30.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones declared this year's school opening a "success" even as some teachers faced the same problems they dealt with in the previous year.
In a statement, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers criticized Briones' statement, saying DepEd officials should stop "patting yourselves on the back for doing the bare minimum of re-opening classes while failing to address major issues in education."
The group questioned the DepEd's celebration of the school opening when the Philippines is among one of the few countries in the world that have yet to resume in-person learning, and many Filipinos still lack access to gadgets and decent internet connection.
"How can we expect these to be addressed when the DepEd Secretary is already celebrating mediocrity?" ACT said in a statement.
In an interview Tuesday on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Malaluan said Briones' statement was a recognition of all the efforts of stakeholders in delivering education despite the pandemic.
"It is more a recognition of how challenging it is to deliver education at this time. It is also a commendation to all of those that have contributed to making this possible," he said.
Malaluan appealed for understanding from the public, saying the agency is always trying to improve its delivery of basic education as it is the second time the government had to implement distance learning due to threat of COVID-19 infection.