MANILA - The Department of Education on Monday said only half of all learners from private schools enrolled this school year as the Philippine economy suffers from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said only 2.1 million learners enrolled in private schools, which is only 50 percent of last year's numbers.
Enrollment in the government's Alternative Learning Systems, which caters to working students and out-of-school youth, also dropped to 52 percent.
"Maliwanag na koneksyon na ekonomiya at edukasyon, dahil 'yung maraming walang trabaho, hindi na sila maka-afford ng pag-aaral sa private schools," Briones said during the Cabinet's weekly meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.
(The connection between the economy and education is clear, because those who lost their jobs cannot afford to send their children to private schools.)
"Pero ang paniwala namin, kung unti-unti namang bubukas ang ekonomiya natin, at dadami 'yung mga tao natin, ang ating mga kapwa Filipino na magkaroon ng trabaho, maka-afford na silang makapag-aral ng kanilang anak sa private schools," Briones added.
(But we believe that as the economy reopens and more people get their jobs back, then there will be more parents who can send their children to private schools.)
The Department of Education formally opened the new academic year Monday, which will see the implementation of distance learning in schools nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 24 million learners enrolled in the basic education system this year, with around 22.5 million registering in public schools.
Even as the DepEd assured that it was ready to start the school year, students, parents and teachers continued to expressed skepticism over the new learning setup.
Among the reasons they cite are lack of gadgets and unreliable internet connectivity, which could be used by students and teachers for online classes or to communicate with each other. Some parents also doubt if students would effectively learning through distance education.