As classes formally opened in public schools nationwide Monday, data from the Department of Education showed that at least three million students remain unenrolled for this school year.
During the National School Opening Day Program, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said there are 24.75 million students enrolled for SY 2020-2021. In the first day of classes, DepEd welcomed 22.5 million students in the public school system. The private education sector has a total enrollment of 2. 17 million.
Compared to the enrollment in SY 2019-2020 of 27.7 million, there are still three million students that have yet to register for this school year. Asked how the DepEd intends to reach out to these unenrolled students, Briones said that “enrollment is still going in because we allow late enrollment as long as they can comply with the 80 percent of the requirements of our program.”
Briones said that the target enrollment for this year was also achieved but the enrollment in private schools remains greatly affected. “As we open up our economy, we are confident that they will go back to their schools,” she added.
Undersecretary for Planning Jesus Mateo explained that late enrollment is still ongoing even if the classes have formally started. “Parents are still encouraged to register their learners as DepEd will still accept late enrollees until Nov. 21, 2020,” he said.
However, Mateo urged parents and guardians not to wait until next month to enroll the children. “Huwag na po hintayin hanggang November, magpa-enroll na sila kasi habang tumatagal na wala sa paaralan ‘yung mga bata, mas mahihirapan silang makahabol (Let’s not wait until November, enroll them now because the longer they stay out of school, the harder it is for them to catch up),” he added.
Mateo, chairman of the “Oplan; Balik Eskwela (OBE),” said that inquiries and clarifications on late enrollment and other school opening concerns can be coursed through the OBE-Public Assistance Command Center (PACC) which is open on-site at the DepEd Central Office from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. The center is also open 24/7 online and can be reached through its hotlines.
Mateo said that due to the COVID-19 situation in the country, the OBE-PACC has been open since June until this month. “The most common inquiries that we get are about enrollment, credential, transfer from private to public schools and questions or clarifications on the alternative learning delivery modalities,” he explained. These, he assured, were responded to and resolved by coordinating with the field units and other concerns offices.