Catholic parochial schools losing thousands of students every year – CBCP report
MANILA, Philippines — There has been a decrease in the number of students enrolled in the 27 parochial schools in Metro Manila run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, according to a report of CBCP News, the official news service of the Catholic Bishops” Conference of the Philippines.
The warning was issued by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM) Educational System, or RCAM ES as it reported to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle that the archdiocese’s 27 schools in Metro Manila have been losing an “average 3 percent” of their students each year.
Despite the low tuition in the parochial schools, the RCAM ES “lost as many as 2,248 (from a total enrollment of 29,872) for the school year 2014-2015,” said Judith Aldaba, the body’s assistant superintendent.
If the trend would continue, she said the parochial schools would eventually be drained of students.
Aldaba also said, “if most of them move to public schools, then we will deprive them the opportunity to be evangelized … Because more than giving our students quality education, we want them to be catechized and proclaim the Good News.”
Guided by its “core values of solidarity, service, stewardship, excellence, and love for the poor,” the RCAM ES operates 20 schools in Manila, three in Pasay City, two in Makati City and one each in the cities of Mandaluyong and San Juan.
Only one school – the Paco Catholic School in Manila – “boasts of more than 3,000 students.” The institution, which used to be the biggest parochial school in the world, celebrated its 100th year in 2012.
Parochial schools with 500 to 1,500 enrollees include the Guadalupe Catholic School in Makati; Jaime Cardinal Sin Learning Center in Sta. Ana, Manila; Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Sta. Mesa, Manila; St. Joseph School in Tondo, Manila; St. Peter the Apostle School in Paco, Manila; San Isidro Catholic School in Pasay City; St. John the Baptist Catholic School in San Juan; and The Nazarene Catholic School in Quiapo, Manila.
Those with 1,500 and 3,000 students include the Espiritu Santo Parochial School in Sta. Cruz, Manila; Holy Child Catholic School and Manila Cathedral School, both in Tondo, Manila; Holy Trinity Academy in Sampaloc, Manila; Malate Catholic School, also in Manila, and the San Felipe Neri Parochial School in Mandaluyong.
These schools offer basic education from early childhood to high school.
Two schools, Sta. Isabel College and the San Juan de Dios Educational Foundation, both higher educational institutions, are under the Daughters of Charity.
The RCAM ES also runs the Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary in Makati.
Parochial schools like the St. Pius X Parochial School and the Holy Family Parochial School in Paco and San Andres Bukid, Manila, respectively, have an enrollment of a little over 100. Both schools offer only elementary education.
Many of their students “enroll in public schools after finishing Grade 6,” according to CBCP News.
The Ermita Catholic School (ECS), which marked its centennial recently, “now has (only) 87 students in its high school department.” Its grade school department was “phased out three years ago as it continued to lose students, incurring deficits at the end of each school year.”
In a related development, Tagle has ordered the heads of parochial schools not to close down if only because their operations are not financially viable.
“The ECS administration plans to reopen its grade school department soon,” said the CBBP News.
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