By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
As it implements the “dropbox” enrollment system starting Tuesday, June 16, the Department of Education (DepEd) underscored the importance of the ongoing registration in both public and private schools as it prepares for the formal opening of classes for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 on August 24.
“This school year’s enrollment is crucial to our preparation as it will validate the data of the early registration done in February and if learners in other grade levels will continue to avail of the education services of the department,” DepEd said in a statement.
As of June 16, DepEd national enrollment data for SY 2020-2021 showed that there are 11, 302, 382 learners nationwide who have registered using remote or virtual enrollment system for both public and private schools in the basic education level. Of this number, 10, 941, 619 learners are currently enrolled in public schools and 355, 045 have registered in private schools.
The national enrollment data for basic education covers public and private schools as well as State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) – including Kindergarten, Elementary or Grades 1 to 6, Junior High School (JHS) or Grades 7 to 10, and Senior High School (SHS) or Grades 11 and 12 as well as non-graded learners with disabilities and those under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program.
Latest DepEd data showed that there are 661, 907 enrollees in Kindergarten; 5, 505, 252 in Elementary; 3, 723, 663 in JHS; and 1,249, 966 in SHS. A total of 43, 944 learners with disabilities also registered along with 126, 650 under the ALS program.
Region IV-A has the highest number of enrollees at 1, 906, 474 followed by National Capital Region (NCR) with 1, 509, 910 and Region III with 1, 103, 213.
DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan, in an earlier online press conference, explained that the DepEd has opened the enrollment for all grade levels this June. “We are doing that enrollment process to confirm if they will participate under the situation of COVID-19 and we need the enrollment survey data,” Malaluan said.
Dropbox enrollment booths
Due to the threat of COVID-19, DepEd decided to implement a “remote enrollment” system nationwide for this SY so learners can register without face-to-face interaction.
DepEd’s enrollment guidelines cite that “no face-to-face registration” will be allowed during the first two weeks of June. Learners who cannot enroll using any remote method will be allowed in the last two weeks of June to “physically enroll” in strict compliance of physical distancing and health standards, and in coordination with the local government units (LGUs).
To cater to those parents who do not have access to remote means such as text, call, online and social media to communicate with their schools but wish to enroll their child, DepEd has introduced a “drop box” enrollment process starting June 16 simultaneously with the remote system.
As a response to the recent directive of DepEd, schools started to coordinate with their respective barangays to facilitate the enrollment process. In Arayat, Pampanga for instance, makeshift enrollment booths were used for the drop box enrollment system.
In its Facebook page, DepEd shared that teachers and parents in Candating Elementary School participate in the drop box registration in the third week of month-long remote enrollment. DepEd noted that the barangay became a partner of the school to carefully implement social distancing and standard health protocols in the area.
To observe social distancing, sari stores, front gates of houses, and chairs and tables placed under the trees in the barangay served as enrollment booths. In these stations, the Learner Enrollment and Survey Form (LESF) can be used to enroll students this SY 2020-2021.
Since majority of homes in the area have no Internet connection, DepEd said that these drop box enrollment booths are a “big help” to parents to ensure they can enroll their children this year without sacrificing their health and safety.
DepEd reminded that drop box/kiosks, which could be found in barangay halls or schools, will be set-up only for picking up and dropping-off the LESF. Earlier, DepEd also instructed its regional offices to manage a “safe and smooth” of this enrollment process.
Schools were also instructed by DepEd to coordinate with barangay officials in the distribution and retrieval of LESFs. To ensure that minimum health standards are met, DepEd said that markings and signage will be in place to ensure proper social distancing.
If there is a need for teachers and personnel to man the booths or the enrollment kiosks, DepEd assured that they will be provided with face masks and disinfectants during the course of the enrollment process.