Late enrollees, repeaters, transferees biggest challenge for some Metro schools
Grade 7 “Angelo” stopped going to school in Quezon City for two years after his father died in 2015.
As eldest of six children, Angelo was often penniless and can’t afford his daily expenses in school including his baon (meals). He was forced to skip his classes day after day until he later dropped out of school.
On Monday, he went to Quezon City High School with his younger brother and 34-year-old mother, who recently found employment as online seller of clothes. He pleaded the principal to give him a slot.
Inside the office of principal Janet Dionio, Angelo found himself writing on a yellow paper, describing his dreams, and explaining why he wished to continue schooling as he cannot articulate his thoughts when being interviewed by the principal.
“I want to be a policeman,” he wrote on a half-page filled letter after several minutes of pondering. “I got inspired when you told me a household helper graduated college,” he told the Inquirer.
Angelo, the principal said, is among the 20 percent late enrollees in Quezon City High School. As of Monday, she interviewed at least 50 students who asked for consideration.
“It’s what I do during the first few days of school opening. Accommodating late enrollees, repeaters and transferees,” she said. “I will accept Angelo no matter what the circumstance is, but I would like him first to realize what he wants to do in life. I want him to dream and see that he really wants to go to school,” she said.
In Quezon City High School, alumni donate P1,000 monthly for every student who wants to study. “Baon is not a problem. Money is not a problem – will is. Sometimes, it’s the parent who easily gives up, who asks students to stop. That’s sad,” the principal said.
There are 3,700 students expected, but only around 3,461 students enrolled on Monday, Dionio said.
Other late enrollees include siblings Jim and Valerie who had a vacation in Bulacan and were late to register.
Dionio said the number of enrollees in junior high school declined, citing relocation of students to Bulacan and other provinces due to previous fire incidents.
Ramon Magsaysay High School principal Dr. Luis Tagayun shared the same concern as most of their students came from Fairview, Caloocan, Philcoa areas. He also said lack of classrooms is not a problem since they still have around 200 more slots for high school students. Before, the school’s population was around 4,700; now it’s around 4,500, he added.
Most of their honor students, he said, transferred to private schools or bigger institutions, using the P22,000 worth voucher program of the Department of Education.
“We cannot force students to stay. This is their decision. Our biggest challenge now is to produce more bright and competent students. Public schools are good schools,” Tagayun said.
He also noted that enrollment for their bread and pastries – one of the most popular tracks – have declined by half. We used to have 80 students before, now, there are around 40, he said.
But there is a boom, Dionio said, on the number of senior high school students who enrolled in the media arts tracks, otherwise known as the “Magna Anima track” where the Quezon City High School had a partnership with the ABS-CBN. From 400 senior students last year, there are now 786, she said.
“We have so many students who wanted to be journalists, broadcasters, film directors. They would be trained by some of the personalities from ABS-CBN,” Dionio said. “This track is unique in this school,” she added.
Dionio said although many students have left, many returned, noting that students who previously availed themselves of the voucher program came back to Quezon City High School because of the high “Top up” fees of some private schools.
“Today, there is a student who returned to the Quezon High School asking for a slot because they still have P9,000 debt from his previous school. He still cannot get his card,” she added.
In Rizal High School in Pasig, one of the most populous schools in Metro Manila, more teachers for the senior high schools are needed. In fact, when the Inquirer visited the school on Monday afternoon, five teachers were spotted still applying for teaching slots.
The Inquirer has yet to interview the principal or the schools divisions’ superintendent on the final number of enrollees.
Meanwhile, schools in San Juan City generally had a smooth start, said acting DepEd San Juan schools division superintendent Dr. Joel Torrecampo.
“It was an organized first day, although there is a lack in the number of classrooms, especially in Salapan Elementary School, which is under construction. Students here have double-shift classes but the number of school hours is not sacrificed. Teachers are also complete,” Torrecampo said.
The same is true at Pedro Cruz Elementary School where students are temporarily housed at Pinaglabanan Elementary School, he said. The school is still under construction and would be finished by July or August, he said. All the other schools have single-shift classes, he added.
There are eight elementary schools in San Juan, one junior high school and one senior high school.
Torrecampo said they have no final number of enrollees yet as enrollment is still ongoing.
He also expects that there will be a higher turnout of enrollees this year in public schools due to transferees from private schools and other areas.
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