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Schools reach 2020 enrollment rate but still short of pre-COVID turnout

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
Schools reach 2020 enrollment rate but still short of pre-COVID turnout
Parents check the self-learning modules and books distributed at General Roxas Elementary School in Quezon City on Sept. 9, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Enrollment in K-12 schools hit last year's rate of more than 26 million on Wednesday, but remained short of the turnout before the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Department of Education said there are now 26.3 million students across the country enrolled for the new school year still carried out remotely. 

That is against the 27.2 million in School Year 2019 to 2020, which was cut abrupt in its final months as the country entered the hard lockdowns due to the health crisis. 

But there are indications the present figure could still catch up to that in 2019, with 11 regions already surpassing their enrollment rate last year.

Cagayan Valley saw the highest change in turnout among regions, or from 914,822 in 2020 to 1.1 million today. 

In Caraga, its 781,551 last year stood at 903,515 at present, while Soccsksargen's 1.13 million also last year is now at 1.27 million. 

Education officials have attributed the rise in enrollment to students who may have returned after foregoing the school year in 2020. 

The overall count distributed showed most Filipino students are in public schools or at 20.02 million, while 1.66 million are in private institutions.  

Enrollment in private schools has again stood way below its pre-pandemic rate, where there were at least 4.3 million students. 

A group of private school administrators has since lamented the plunging enrollment among their members. 

Last year, DepEd said 865 of them did not reopen or were forced to suspend operations with few to no enrollees at all. 

In Alternative Learning System, the turnout has also remained low. Figures showed 199,422 will continue classes, or only 33.27% of the 599,365 last year. 

Classes in the Philippines officially began on September 13, with distance learning still the setup as President Rodrigo Duterte remained without a decision to allow a pilot study.

Groups have long relayed concern that difficulties from virtual schooling could exacerbate a learning "crisis" in the country.

DepEd will continue to accept enrollment until the end of the month. 

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DISTANCE LEARNING PRIVATE SCHOOLS
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