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Senators alarmed over increasing number of dropouts

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Senators alarmed over increasing number of dropouts
Sen. Sonny Angara, who chairs the Senate committee on youth, warned the increase in the number of OSY is a serious issue that could lead to bigger problems later on if left unchecked.
The STAR / Geremy Pintolo, File

MANILA, Philippines — Senators expressed alarm over the growing number of out-of-school youth (OSY) due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic even as they asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to immediately improve policies using lessons learned from months of blended and distance learning.

Sen. Sonny Angara, who chairs the Senate committee on youth, warned the increase in the number of OSY is a serious issue that could lead to bigger problems later on if left unchecked.

“We understand that the sharp drop in enrollment for the current school year was due to the restrictions on face-to-face education. We hope to see these figures improve once our schools start to open up again, albeit gradually,” Angara said.

“What worries me is that many of the children who were not able to enroll last year could end up missing even more time out of school or, worse, drop out completely for one reason or another,” he added.

Based on DepEd data, close to four million students were not able to enroll for the current school year. As of Aug. 11 last year, DepEd reported that 23 million have enrolled in both public and private schools, a significant reduction from the 27.7 million enrollees in 2019. The 2.75 million of the four million who did not enroll were private school students.

A 2017 Philippine Statistics Authority data, showed nine percent or 3.53 million of the estimated 39.2 Filipinos aged 6 to 24 years old were considered OSYs. Of that number, 83.1 percent consisted of individuals 16 to 24 years old, 11.2 percent were 12 to 15 years old, and 5.7 percent were six to 11 years old.

The PSA data indicated that the most common reasons among OSYs for not attending school were marriage or family matters, lack of personal interest, and high cost of education or financial?concerns.

Around 50 percent of OSYs belong to families whose income falls within the bottom 30 percent of the population based on their per capita income.

To help address the issue, Angara is pushing for the establishment of a Magna Carta of the OSYs as proposed in his Senate Bill 1090.

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