By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
More than 14.4 million learners have already enrolled in both public and private schools nationwide, the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Thursday.
As of June 25, the total number of enrollees for SY 2020-2021 has reached 14,441,500 nationwide for Kindergarten to Grade 12, including Alternative Learning System (ALS) and non-graded learners with disabilities. This is 51.97% of total enrollment of 27,790,114 last school year.
The data showed that 13,871,410 learners have enrolled in public schools and 558,705 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 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 40,068 learners with disabilities who registered along with 126,250 under the ALS program.
Region IV-A has the highest number of enrollees at 2,164, 646; followed by National Capital Region (NCR) with 1,703,632; and Region III with 1,626,849.
Amid the threat of COVID-19, DepEd is implementing a “remote enrollment” system nationwide from June 1 to 30 for this school year so learners can register without face-to-face interaction.
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 since June 1.
Simultaneous with the virtual enrollment, 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) starting June 16.
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.
Enrollment too low?
Amid concerns that the enrollment turn out is relatively low compared to last year, DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla said “it is too early to make conclusions on the basis of the number of enrollees as of today versus last year.”
This year’s situation, Sevilla noted, is “different” in the context of the public health emergency, economic situation, and new learning delivery modalities – among other considerations. She added that “data generation is also very difficult now compared to last year when everything is normal in terms of manpower of department and the coordination/communication between schools, divisions, regions and to central office.”
Sevilla explained that an “apples to apples” comparison may not be applicable in interpreting this year’s enrollment turnout – thus, DepEd needs to “validate and coordinate with our internal units” first.
Asked if DepEd is considering the extension of the enrollment period due to the seemingly lower turnout of enrollees, Sevilla said that this will be discussed in a Management Committee meeting with Education Secretary Leonor Briones within this week. “She [Briones] will surely ask the status of enrolment and policies will be reviewed and adjusted, if necessary,” she ended.