DepEd says enrollment still ongoing; 'all systems go' for Oct. 5 school opening

Even if the enrollment period has officially ended, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday said that parents who still wish to register their children for the upcoming school year may still do so as schools were directed to allow late enrollment.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DepEd / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in a “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” virtual press briefing, said that enrollment is still ongoing in public schools as school opening was deferred and moved to October 5.

“Patuloy pa rin ang enrollment. Ibig sabihin, maraming parents ang nagtitiwala sa DepEd (Enrollment is still ongoing which means that many parents still place their trust on DepEd),” Briones said. “Umabot na ng 23.3 million ang ating enrollees at everyday, patuloy pa rin ang late enrollees at ang ibig sabihin nito ay ang mga parents ay buo ang tiwala sa DepEd (We have reached 23.3 million enrollees and everyday, we stil have late enrollees which also shows that the trust of parents on DepEd is still there),” she added.

DepEd national enrollment data as of August 17 showed that the total number of enrollees for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 has reached 23,311,861 for Kindergarten to Grade 12, including those under Alternative Learning System (ALS) and non-graded learners with disabilities. This, DepEd said, is 95.88 percent of the total enrollment for SY 2019-2020.

The current total enrollment of 21,644,699 in public schools is 95.88 percent of last school year’s enrollment. Meanwhile, there are 1,624,259 enrollees in private schools or 37.73 percent of the total enrollment for SY 2019-2020.

Based on the latest enrollment figures, there are 1,629,664 pupils enrolled in Kindergarten; 11,358,801 in Elementary; 7,332, 801 in Junior High School (JHS); and 2,572,719 in Senior High School (SHS). There are also 61,529 learners with disabilities who registered along with 356,893 under the ALS program.

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, JHS or Grades 7 to 10, and SHS or Grades 11 and 12.

The enrollment period started on June 1 and ended on July 15. Due to the COVID-19 situation in the country, 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. Drop boxes and kiosks in barangay halls and schools were also put up so parents who do not have access to remote means of communication may pick up or drop off the Learner Enrollment and Survey Form (LESF).

Despite the postponement of the August 24 school opening, Briones assured that school preparation activities will continue. “We already have more than 500 schools which conducted dry runs and simulations and as we wait for the formal school opening on October 5, these activities will continue,” she added.

Briones said that with the ongoing school preparations, DepEd is “all systems go” for the October 5 school opening. “We are hoping that this will be the last time that we will postpone our school opening and we ask for cooperation and understanding from education stakeholders - learners, teachers, and parents,” she added.

In preparation for the school opening, Briones said that DepEd has limited its blended learning delivery for the upcoming school year to distance learning modalities only.

DepEd maintained that there will be no face-to-face classes when the school year opens. “Humihingi kami ng patawad sa mga estudyante kung naantala ang kanilang pag-aaral (We ask forgiveness from students if their education was delayed),” Briones said. DepEd, she added, is one with the President in his non-negotiable commitment for the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff.

Briones said that regional offices and schools division offices continue to undertake various “stages of preparations” for the opening of the school year through blended/distance learning consisting of modular (printed or digital offline), online, and educational television and radio-based instruction and learning.