MANILA - The Department of Education said Tuesday it expected more learners to enroll for the school year as the economy gradually reopens.
Some 24.7 million students registered in basic education this year, short of 3 million from the previous year, according to DepEd data.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones explained that the drop in enrollment was largely seen in private schools and was an effect on the pandemic's impact on the income of families.
"We believe that as the economy is gradually opened up, there will be more jobs, parents will be able to send their children [to schools]," Briones said at a Palace briefing.
Enrollment in private schools was halved this year, with only 2.1 million registering from 4.3 million last year, DepEd data showed.
Briones added that enrollment was also low in the Alternative Learning System, whose learners were also workers.
"Hindi na sila nakaka-enroll dahil busy sila sa paghahanapbuhay," she said.
(They weren't able to enroll because they were busy working.)
The education chief reiterated that schools would accept late enrollees until November as long as the learner could attend 80 percent of the total class days.
On Monday, 22 million public school students resumed their studies through distance learning, which was implemented as in-person classes remain prohibited due to the continued threat of COVID-19.
In the past months, businesses have also reopened and resumed operations as government eased coronavirus restrictions.