By Krixia Subingsubing, 7 Sep 2021
Less than a week before this year’s opening of classes, the number of enrolled students in both public and private schools have only reached 17.96 million thus far—or 45 percent less than last year’s 26.2 million students, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan revealed the numbers in a Laging Handa briefing on Monday, as the department waited for President Duterte to approve its proposal to reopen limited physical classes in select, low-risk areas soon.
Schools are expected to reopen on Sept. 13—the second time it would do so during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Malaluan urged parents to “not wait until the last day of enrollment” on Sept. 13 before getting their children to attend class.
Still, he was confident the country would reach, if not surpass, last year’s 26.2 million enrollment last year—which still saw 3 million students out of school after the Philippines shifted to distance learning for the first time.
They’re also hoping to encourage students who skipped school last year to come back this year, he added.
For now, he said, the DepEd was busy preparing for the possible reopening of limited in-person classes in some 638 public schools in areas with low COVID-19 transmission rates.
These areas have to have a growth rate of less than or equal to zero, and their daily attack rate must be 1 in every 100,000 people.
If approved, the classes will accommodate at least 12 children from kindergarten, and not more than 16 from Grades 1 to 3 students.
Students will only be asked to report for school for three hours, where they would “mainly reinforce … [what] would still be predominantly distance learning.”
“Our approach here is extreme caution and maximum preventive measures,” he said. INQ