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SWS: 4.4 million school-age Filipinos not enrolled as of late 2020

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
SWS: 4.4 million school-age Filipinos not enrolled as of late 2020
Two children are seen listening in DepEd's broadcast TV lessons under the distance learning setup, which was carried out due to the coronavirus pandemic
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines  —  An SWS survey suggests around 4.4 million school-age Filipinos were not enrolled in school in late 2020 as learning shifted to the modular mode.

According to the local pollster, 87% or 29.8 million of 5- to 20-year-olds were in school, but another 13% were not.

Students aged 18-20 made up 40%, or 1.76 million, while children aged 5-6 comprised 15% of the total. Another 13% not in school were aged 16-17 while those between 12 and 15 years (4%) and between 7 and 11 (3%) made up the rest.

The SWS survey ran from November 21 to 25 of 2020, and had 1,500 adult respondents who were asked if each of their household members between 5- to 20-years-old was enrolled. 

It had 600 participants in Balance Luzon, while 300 each in Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao, that yielded a ±2.5% sampling margin of error.

Classes under distance learning for some 25 million students began in October 2020, with the enrollment figure down by two million from 2019, according to education department figures.

The number of college students enrolled, meanwhile, is unclear since the Commission on Higher Education has not published figures.

Elementary students made up most of those enrolled at present at 45% or 13.3 million, with 29% or 8.6 million of students in junior high school and 13% or 3.9 million in senior high school.

College students only made up 6% or 1.9 million while students in pre-primary level were at 7% or 2.1 million.

Learning through modules most preferred

In the same survey, it was found that 80% of those enrolled or 23.8 million were entirely learning through printed materials.

This was followed by 4.3 million who were under a purely online setup, 302,000 in face-to-face learning despite physical classes still disallowed, and 38,000 getting their lessons through television and radio, mediums which DepEd tapped too for the efforts.

Overall, only 1.2 million were under blended learning or a mix of modules and online instruction, while 178,000 were learning through face-to-face and from printed resources.

Participation in modular distance learning was also the highest among elementary students at 90%, while most in college were under online learning.

Further, those who opted for modules were also the highest among residents living outside Metro Manila.

Difficulties encountered by both teachers and students have prevailed under the second quarter of the school year.

Surveys have found student participation declining and teachers said they have low trust that their classes are getting the lessons.

RELATEDGroup's surveys air concern on 'looming learning crisis' in Philippines

And while there are growing calls for government to come up with plans to safely reopen schools, the possibility was shot down anew by President Rodrigo Duterte, who said in-person classes will only resume when vaccination against COVID-19 starts.

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