The Department of Education (DepEd) formally opened a new school year on Monday, Sept. 13, amidst a raging pandemic.
Despite the challenges, Education Secretary Leonor Briones considered the School Year (SY) 2021-2021 a “success” — noting that even amidst the “horrors and terrors” of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, education must continue.
“We open classes today in celebration of our victories and successes,” Briones said during the virtual National School Opening Day program.
“Let our classes begin! Let us celebrate victory, let us celebrate success,” she added.
During the first year of opening classes in the time of COVID-19 on Oct. 5, 2020, Briones declared “victory.” This school year, the start of classes is a “success worthy of celebration,” for the entire DepEd.
In particular, Briones noted the very “encouraging” enrollment figures for the school year.
“In the light of the terrors of UK variant, in the light of fears of the Delta variant, in the light of the nightmares of a new possible variant, to have 24 million learners and their parents allowing their children to go back to school, that is something,” she said.
While the present figures account for 93 percent of last year’s enrollment, Briones remained optimistic that the enrollment will continue to increase in the coming days and weeks.
“We expect more to enroll because we allow late enrollment until the end of the month,” Briones said.
“When the final numbers come in, we are confident that we will be able to match last year’s enrollment in spite of the fact that the challenges are different this time,” she added
As of Sept. 13, DepEd said that the current enrollment has reached 24.6 million or 93.8 percent of the enrollment in SY 2020-2021 at 26. 2 million.
With the more unpredictable environment, Briones said that the DepEd has endeavored to deal with changes as fast as it can.
“This is very challenging at the same time, very exciting because we know and we try to recognize what we are up against,” she added.