DepEd sees ‘small reduction’ in number of enrollees for coming school year
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) sees a “small reduction” in the number of enrollees for School Year 2020 to 2021 based on its initial projection as the threat of the coronavirus disease persists ahead of the opening of classes on August 24.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones explained on Thursday that there might be two scenarios on enrollment for the coming school year: an increase in enrollment in public schools due to migration of some students from private institutions, or a drop in enrollment as most parents would want to keep their children at home amid the pandemic.
“We don’t know if this will balance each other out,” Briones said in an online press briefing.
“Pero kami (But us) we are anticipating that perhaps there might be—sa (based on) initial enrollment projection—that there might be a small reduction in enrollment but we will see how it turns out by the end of June,” she added.
The opening of classes for the coming school year was scheduled for August 24, a date set by DepEd based on consultations with various stakeholders and a survey involving around 700,000 respondents.
Briones, however, earlier said that classes might be done virtually in some areas. DepEd is also preparing to implement alternative learning systems, such as online learning and offline methods like take-home readings and activities.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not allow physical classes unless a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is made available to the public.
“I will not allow the opening of classes na magdikit-dikit ‘yang mga bata (that students will be near each other),” Duterte said.
“Unless I am sure that they are really safe, it’s useless to be talking about the opening of classes. Para sa akin, bakuna muna (For me, vaccine should come first). Kapag nandyan ‘yung bakuna, okay na (When the vaccine is there, then it’s okay),” he also said.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque later clarified this, saying Duterte was only referring to face-to-face classes in areas that would remain under community quarantine.
Briones likewise said there is no conflict between the position of DepEd and that of the President since Duterte was only referring to face-to-face classes.
“Kami sa DepEd din, sinasabi namin na hindi natin papayagan ‘yung physical at face-to-face na paghold ng classes sa mga lugar na hindi lamang peligroso kundi also hindi makakasunod sa mga standards ng Department of Health (DOH),” she said.
(In DepEd, we also say that we will not allow physical and face-to-face classes in areas that have high risk and will also not be able to follow standards of the DOH.)
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