Enrollment down to all-time low

Published July 18, 2020, 10:46 AM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Enrollment in private schools has hit an all-time low, dropping to 73 percent this year.

(Photo courtesy of DepEd / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Data from the Department of Education (DepEd) showed that as of July 17, there are only 1,169,976 students enrolled in private schools across 17 regions.

Of this number, 45,754 students are in kindergarten; 259, 182 in elementary; 454, 712 in junior high school (JHS), 409, 150 in senior high school (SHS) and 1,178 are non-graded learners with disabilities.

According to the DepEd, the number is only 27% of last year’s 4,304,676 — a sharp 73%-drop, overall.

DepEd remains hopeful the enrollment will still “increase in the coming weeks.”

Shut down

With difficulties in sustaining operations, several private institutions have been closing down.

The Federation of Associations of Private School Administrators (FAPSA) said this has become even more pronounced with the education system now being forced to shift into blended learning and distance learning.

Cavite City Governor Jonvic Remulla attests to this noting at least 100 private schools in the province will stop operations this incoming school year as the country shifts into distance learning.

He added the local government units (LGUs) are also “struggling to source funds” to ensure that schools in their respective areas are equipped and can respond to the demands of blended learning as directed by DepEd.

Then there’s the matter of “migration.”

According to FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag more and more teachers now prefer teaching in public schools where the compensation and benefits are deemed “higher and better.”

Private schools are not just losing teachers, they are also losing students due to the economic impact brought about by the pandemic.

The DepEd said that as of July 16, there were 305, 842 students who transferred from private to public schools.

The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) is worried about the situation escalating.

Lawyer Joseph Noel Estrada, COCOPEA managing director, said the private education sector lost an estimated ₱55.2 billion in revenues with school opening pushed to August.

“Bigger revenue losses paralyze the school operations and may lead to eventual closure,” he said.

COCOPEA is now urging the government to pave a way for a policy that would allow private education to “thrive and survive” in these trying times.