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Parents urged to enrol kids ahead of school opening

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Parents urged to enrol kids ahead of school opening
Student volunteers pile the used learners' modules of Concepcion Elementary School in Marikina City on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) has reminded parents to enroll their children ahead of the opening of the school year on Aug. 22.

DepEd spokesman Michael Poa urged parents not to wait for the last day of enrollment to enable schools to adequately prepare for the opening of classes.

“We hope to avoid that,” Poa said in Filipino during a recent press briefing, referring to last-minute enrollees that schools often encountered pre-pandemic.

He added that the DepEd has adopted various strategies to address expected challenges in the coming school year, including the still ongoing pandemic, possible shortage of classrooms and the impact of the earthquake that hit Northern Luzon last month.

“For the strategies to be effective, we need to get concrete numbers on how many learners are we expecting per school,” he said.

Data as of Thursday showed that over 19.2 million students have already enrolled in public and private elementary and high schools nationwide.

Of the figure, 16,943,745 enrolled in public schools, 2,254,879 in private schools and 64,801 in state or local colleges and universities that offer basic education programs.

The DepEd set the target of 28.6 million enrollees for school year 2022-2023 is up from last SY’s 27.56 million.

Balik Eskwela

On Monday, the DepEd will launch its annual Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) to engage agencies, organizations and other stakeholders in preparation for the school opening.

“The OBE is part of the department’s effort to ensure that learners from public and private schools are properly enrolled.

It aims to address problems, queries and other concerns commonly encountered by the public at the start of the school year,” the memorandum issued by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte read.

In addition to the DepEd, member agencies include the Departments of Energy, the Interior and Local Government, Health, National Defense, Public Works and Highways, Social Welfare and Development, Trade and Industry, Transportation and Information and Communications Technology.

Also part of the initiative are the Manila Electric Company; Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System; Metropolitan Manila Development Authority; Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration; Philippine National Police; National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; National Telecommunications Commission and Office of the Press Secretary.

The DepEd will also set up an OBE Public Assistance Command Center that will serve as an information and complaints processing and routing mechanism ahead of the school opening.

The command center is tasked to receive, process and respond to simple queries, information requests and complaints from the general public, as well as assist in the dissemination and clarification of information regarding the school opening.

“Members of the OBE shall ensure the implementation of necessary health and safety protocols in the conduct of all OBE 2022 activities. In keeping with this, the department shall require the use of face masks at all times, alongside handwashing and other hygienic practices, as safety directives for all public and private schools nationwide,” the memorandum read.

“Proper advocacy and information dissemination will be pushed forward to equip schools with information on how to manage certain situations involving COVID-19 and other infectious diseases based on, but not limited to, the most recent safety and health protocols issued by the DepEd,” it added.

DEPED

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