By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
More than 12 million learners in the basic education level from both public and private schools have already enrolled for the incoming School Year (SY) 2020-2021, the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Friday.
On the third week of the month-long enrollment this June, DepEd national data for SY 2020-2021 as of June 19 showed that the total number of enrollees has reached 12,768,466 nationwide for Kindergarten to Grade 12 in both formal and informal education systems.
Since June 1, the DepEd has implemented remote enrollment through alternative means of communication that do not require physically reporting to school, such as text, call, email, and online messaging. On June 16, DepEd also opened drop boxes and kiosks in barangay halls and schools, where parents who do not have access to remote means of communication may pick up or drop off the Learner Enrollment and Survey Form (LESF).
Currently, there are 12,319,956 learners enrolled in public schools and 439,520 have registered in private schools.
The national enrollment data covers public and private schools as well as State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) and learners across all basic education level 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. Also included are non-graded learners with disabilities and those under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program.
DepEd’s latest data showed that there are 661,907 learners enrolled in Kindergarten; 5,505,252 in Elementary; 3,723,663 in JHS; and 1,249,966 in SHS. There are also 36,413 learners with disability who registered along with 126,650 under the ALS program.
The highest number of enrollees for this SY are from Region IV-A with 2,617,525, followed by the National Capital Region (NCR) with 1,639,726, and Region III with 1,323,059.
The DepEd said that both public and private schools are covered by the enrollment policy set by the agency. The enrollment covers learners in all grade levels intending to attend SY 2020-2021, including those who enrolled during the early registration period in February, 2020.
In School Year 2019-2020, enrollment data provided by DepEd’s Education Management Information System Division-Planning Service showed that the total number of enrollment in all sectors and level of education was 27,790,114 for both formal and informal systems.
Of this number, 27,030,391 are learners from Kinder to Grade 12 and 759,723 are in the ALS program. There were 22,572,923 enrollees in public schools and 4,203,676 in private schools last school year.
The DepEd had earlier said that there is “no specific target for enrollment” for this coming SY as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have no specific target because of changed conditions,” DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan said. “We are using last year’s enrollment as [a] benchmark or comparator to gauge how many decided to proceed or opt out of this school year,” he added.
The DepEd has moved the school opening from June to August 24 this coming SY due to the disruptions brought about by the public health emergency. This school year, Malaluan said that there might be changes in the participation rate.
“There is a degree of uncertainty [now] and our earlier estimates [based on last year] are under normal conditions,” Malaluan said. “Historically, there has been an increase but there are sometimes changes in the number of enrollees so it is reasonable to anticipate a reduction in enrollment,” he added.
Malaluan said that DepEd will be able to take note of the concerns on the school opening. He added that the enrollment period is “very critical to know how large a change in the participation rate will be under the current circumstance.”
This coming SY, the DepEd assured that while there will be “no face-to-face conduct of classes” until deemed safe by the authorities. Schools will still provide learning opportunities to students without requiring them to come to school.
To ensure learning continuity, the DepEd said that blended/distance learning will be the major learning approach to be used wherein lessons will be delivered to the students in their homes through printed or digital modules, online learning resources, and television or radio-based instruction.