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6 million students enroll by remote registration

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 6 million learners have registered as of Saturday in the Department of Education (DepEd)’s remote enrollment in public and private schools nationwide, the DepEd data showed.

According to the data, the first day of remote enrollment on June 1 drew 500,000 learners, while 3.7 million learners registered on the second day. The rest enrolled on the remaining days of the first week of the remote process.

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The DepEd has opted to use online platforms for virtual enrollment to keep students, parents and teachers away from school premises to contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

At the same time, the agency allowed learners who cannot enroll using remote methods to physically enroll in the last two weeks of June “in strict compliance [with] physical distancing and health standards, and in coordination with local government units.”

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At least 27.2 million learners entered school in 2019.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the agency was “happy with the turnout so far” considering the challenges of the monthlong remote enrollment.

“To us, this means parents of six million learners trust that DepEd can deliver learning opportunities to their children in a safe manner in time of COVID,” Malaluan said.

“This means parents of 6 million learners [are] willing to try blended/distance learning, and [are] willing to work with us for the education of their children,” he added.

At the same time, the DepEd official said there could be no historical comparison between this year’s enrollment figures with those of previous years, since this was the first time that the agency had carried out virtual enrollment.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) meanwhile slammed the country’s public education system for its “infrastructure deficits” and lack of technological readiness to reopen classes on Aug. 24, as well as the uncertainty of funding to conduct distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Duterte earlier expressed confidence over the DepEd’s shift to “blended learning” — a combination of online learning through electronic or digital platforms and traditional face-to-face classes — to be able to resume classes safely despite the threat of COVID-19.

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The President, however, raised doubts on Thursday over the country’s preparedness to implement blended learning this coming school year.

ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio said DepEd was only “wasting teachers’ time, efforts, and resources” by failing to address their concrete demands for a safe return to schools.

Despite hosting various webinars for teachers on the enrollment process, catching up on backlogs and upgrading their skills, Basilio said “DepEd hardly prepared any program and resources to implement these, forcing teachers to risk their health and safety, shell out money from their own pockets, and go over and beyond to fill in [the agency’s] shortages and fulfill their duties.”

It remains unclear where funds would be sourced to enable distance and blended learning, the ACT official added.

“We urge the government to first and foremost do its duty to make it safe enough to [go back to school] and prepare an education program that is viable and grounded on stakeholders’ needs, capacities, and aspirations,” Basilio said.

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TAGS: 2020 school opening, blended learning, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, DepEd, online enrollment, remote registration
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