Joblessness and unemployment caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have resulted in decline in enrollment, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).
While DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones declared that this year’s school opening was a success and a victory against COVID-19, she said those who are unable to enroll due to financial constrainst remained a challenge for them.
The big drop in enrollment, according to Briones, is in the private sector as well as in the alternative learning system (ALS). She said that most of out-of-school youths and other ALS learmers have discontinued their schooling to look for whatever jobs are available to augment their families’ income.
“Ang challenge at kami naman ay hindi natin ito itinatago, ni-report natin ito weekly. Nag-umpisa tayo ng less than 20 percent lang sa private sector ang nag-enroll last June eh ngayon ay umabot na ng 50 percent. Ito ay ang remaining challenge natin at alam natin na ito ay konektado sa nangyayari sa ekonomiya,” Briones said at the Laging Handa press briefing.
“So, may relasyon din sa pagkawala ng trabaho ang mga workers, hindi na sila nakaka-enroll dahil busy sila sa paghahanapbuhay. Kaya ito iyong remaining challenge sa atin,” Briones said.
The secretary noted that her agency has an existing policy even before the pandemic that once a student has fulfilled 80 percent of the requirements, he or she will be accepted.
She also said this year’s number of enrollees is higher than the agency’s target of 22.2 million.
“Ang ating enrollees ngayon ay 24,756,286 so, nag-exceed tayo sa ating target na inaprubahan ng NEDA [National Economic and Development Authority] for enrollment this year,” Briones said.
“Sa public schools naman ay more than 99 percent ng numbers natin last year ay ating nakamit,” she added.
Briones further said they will still accept late enrollees until 21 November.
“So, ang enrollment natin puwede up to November pero ang sinasabi namin, huwag silang maghintay hanggang November, itong mga natitira na hindi pa nakapag-enroll.”