By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
As the country grapples with COVID-19, the Department of Education (DepEd) is bracing itself for possible changes in the participation or enrollment rate this coming school year (SY) 2020-2021.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in a recent online press conference, said that DepEd is looking into different enrollment scenarios which is schedule from June 1- 30 for public schools. “There are two ways at looking at possible increase or decrease in enrollment this school year,” she said. “We don’t know if this will balance each other out,” she added.
Briones noted that for the coming school year, the movement enrollment or participation rate in public schools may be influenced by the migration of some students from private institutions and the decision of the parents to discontinue the education of their children as the threat of COVID-19 still lingers.
Participation rate or net enrolment rate, DepEd said, is the “ratio between the enrolment in the school-age range to the total population of that age range.” Briones said that while DepEd had conducted an early registration in February, the data may no longer be accurate due to the impacts of the health crisis among Filipino families.
“Based on our initial enrollment projection, there might be a small reduction in enrollment but we will see how it will turn out,” Briones said. After the enrollment period from June 1-30, she noted that a more definitive data might be gathered by DepEd.
For his part, DepEd Undersecretary Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan noted that decrease in enrollment this coming school year is “highly” likely. “That’s a reasonable expectation because there is a degree of uncertainty at the moment because of the health situation,” he explained.
Under normal conditions, Malaluan said, that is usually an increase in the number of enrollees every school opening. However, due to COVID-19, there might be changes in the number of enrollees when the academic calendar official starts this August. “It is reasonable to anticipate reduction in enrollment but we will still have to see in the coming weeks,” he explained.
Malaluan said that June will be a “critical month” for DepEd as this will also serve as first litmus test of the Basic Education – Learning Continuity Plan (LCP) to be rolled out when classes formally start on August 24.
Data from DepEd showed that in the School Year (SY) 2019-2020, there were 27 million enrollees in the formal education system or 22.5 million enrollees in public schools and 4.3 million learners in private schools. When it comes to distribution of enrollees, Regon IV-A has the most number of students at 3.8 million.