MANILA (UPDATE) — More than 27.2 million students are enrolled in basic education this year, a rise from the student population last year, the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Thursday.
As of Nov. 15, 27,232,095 students are officially enrolled in basic education (elementary to high school) for School Year (SY) 2021-2022, according to data from the Department of Education.
The figure is 3.8 percent higher than the 26.2 million learners registered for SY 2020-2021, which was carried out completely under distance learning after in-person classes were banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the DepEd said official numbers validate earlier statements from education officials that "a considerable number of those who skipped last school year have returned to school."
The DepEd, however, noted that the enrollment figure was "not yet final" because 520 schools have yet to update their enrollment profile.
"We expect to move close to the enrollment quick count of 28 million with the extension of enrollment updating to end-November," it said.
Last Sept. 18, the DepEd reported that over 28.2 million learners enrolled for SY 2021-2022, based on its "quick count" reporting.
The agency will release a "more granular enrollment analysis" in December, it said.
Of the total, 23.9 million are enrolled in public schools while 3.2 million come from private schools, according to data.
Public schools saw a 5.2 percent increase in enrollment while private school enrollment dropped by 4.8 percent.
More than 103,000 learners are enrolled in state and local universities and colleges (SUCs and LUCs) offering basic education while over 15,000 come from Philippine Schools Overseas (PSOs).
Enrollment in SUCs and LUCs, and PSOs also decreased by 12.8 and 21.5 percent, respectively.
For SY 2021-2022, more than 612,140 learners transferred from public to private schools while more than 305,513 learners moved from private to public schools.
In July 2020 or three months before the previous school year began, DepEd data showed that 365,867 students transferred from private to public schools.
Officials earlier said the migration from private to public schools was because of the pandemic's effects to the income of families.
Meanwhile, 239,616 students registered under the Alternative Learning System (ALS), which is 60 percent lower than the enrollment figure from the previous SY.
"We are doubling our efforts to increase this number. Enrollment in ALS is on a rolling basis that extends beyond the enrollment period in formal education," the DepEd said.
Distance learning is still largely being implemented in Philippine schools but the DepEd has already started its three-phased plan to resume in-person classes, even as the country continues to deal with COVID-19.
Last Monday, 100 public schools reopened to students for limited in-person classes. Twenty private schools are set to hold classroom instruction starting Nov. 22.