By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Enrollment of learners both in formal and informal education systems may increase by one million this coming School Year (SY) 2019-2020, according to the data from the Department of Education (DepEd).
Based on the initial data secured by the Manila Bulletin from Undersecretary for Finance Service and Education Programs Delivery Unit Annalyn Sevilla, the projected enrollment for 2019 is 27, 817, 737.
Of the around 28 million projected enrollees for SY 2019-2020, a total of 2, 330, 099 (2.3 M) are from Kinder and 13, 271,598 (13.2M) are in Elementary or Grades 1 to 6.
The projected enrollment in Junior High School (JHS) in or Grades 7 to 10 is 8, 527, 055 (8.5 M); and 3, 087, 646 (3 M) for Senior High School (SHS) or Grades 11 and 12.
These learners are expected to troop back to their respective schools when classes for the coming school year start on June 3. However, Sevilla, clarified that their estimate is based only on early and initial registration and still subject to further “validation and updating.”
Sevilla said that DepEd is projecting a 2.95 percent growth rate on enrolment for SY 2019-2020. This is higher compared to last year (2018) at 2.62 % but lower from the previous years at 5.56% in 2017 and 4.41% in 2016. Enrollees in 2016 had a total of almost 25 million; in 2016 there were more than 26 million; and in 2017 there were over 27 million learners across all basic education levels in both public and private schools.
“Balik Aral” or learners who went back to school and resume study after year/s of dropping out or discontinuing studying are also expected to enroll this year. DepEd data showed that in 2018 alone, there were more than 250,000 “Balik Aral” learners in elementary and secondary levels.
With the strengthened Alternative Learning System (ALS) curriculum, DepEd is also expecting more enrollees this year. ALS enrollment during Calendar Year (CY) 2018 was recorded at 823,013 which is 28.28 % higher compared to the 641, 584 enrollees in CY 2017.
DepEd initial data also showed that there is 97.52 percent participation rate in its Early Registration which was conducted in January to February this year. Out of the 48, 167 schools, a total of 46 972 submitted their reports. Based on the latest available data on Early Registration dated last March 5, it showed that 5, 064, 390 learners participated in the early registration.
The Early Registration aims to ensure all new entrants for Kindergarten, Grades 1, 7 and 11 learners are registered – as well as to “locate, identify, and register” out-of-school children (OSC) and youth (OSY) in the community.
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that DepEd’s preparation for the school opening starts months before the actual start of classes. “We are monitoring that on a quarterly basis,” she said when asked about the status of basic education resources.
DepEd determines school readiness through the assessment of data available using ideal ratios for each identified readiness variable as standards parameters. The schools are usually classified as “ready” if the ideal ratio is met; “nearly ready” if they nearly meets the standard and “needing support” if they did not meet the standards past the tolerance level.
In an effort to lessen possible overcrowding in classrooms, Sevilla said that DepEd is doing an inventory of the enrollees – as well as other basic education resources. “So far, our regions have no reports on alarming or excess number of enrollees,” she explained. “As early as now, we are doing some adjustments like if the school goes beyond its absorptive capacity, we refer the students to schools nearby as long as parents will agree to it,” she added.
Every year, Sevilla said that the student-to-classroom ratio changes. “Before, the ratio of students in one classroom is around 1:45 to 1:50, but now, we made national average of 1:40,” Sevilla said. “Kung gusto natin na dekalidad na pagtuturo ng ating mga guro, dapat tingnan natin kung ano yung ideal student to classroom ratio,” she added.
Sevilla said one of the initiatives of DepEd to improve quality of education is lowering student-to-classroom ratio. “Kung gusto natin na maganda ang kaledad ng pagtuturo ng isang guro, kailangan natin tingan kung ano ang ideal,” she ended.