Just in: DepEd reaches target enrollment rate for blended learning

The Department of Education (DepEd) has reached its target enrollment rate for the upcoming school year even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the learning system.

As of Wednesday, data from the DepEd showed that some 22.2 million learners have already enrolled in both public and private schools for SY 2020-2021, within the target range of the government.

The DepEd earlier said it lowered its target enrollment rate  to 80 percent of last school year’s 27 million enrollees as it expected a decrease in the number of students who would register because of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Kailangan natin tingnan kasi yung nangyayari ngayon. Ang isang naapektuhan ay ang ekonomiya. Kapag naapektuhan yung income, mayroon tayong problema dyan tungkol sa pagpasok ng mga kabataan,” Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo told reporters earlier this month.

(We need to look at the situation right now. The economy was affected. If income is affected, we have a problem when it comes to the schooling of children.)

Based on data from DepEd, the enrollment rate was highest in the Southern Tagalog Region with over 3 million enrollees, followed by Central Luzon at 2.3 million, and the National Capital Region at 2.2 million. Enrollment was lowest in the Cordillera Administrative Region with only 346, 133 enrollees.

Over 1 million enrollees so far have registered in private schools, threatening the sustainability of these educational institutions. The DepEd however said it expects the figure to go up in the days leading to the start of classes next month.

The DepEd ended the formal enrollment of students on July 15 but it clarified that public schools will continue to accept learners until September.

Classes are set to begin on Aug. 24 through blended learning as the coronavirus threat persists. Under such a system, schools will use printed learning modules, online instruction, and radio and television as different education delivery modes.

“I think there is some high level of trust among some learners and some parents that we can offer learning opportunities despite the COVID,” Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said.

While face-to-face classes are prohibited for the meantime, President Rodrigo Duterte has already approved its resumption starting January next year but only in areas deemed to have low risk of COVID-19 transmission, or those under modified general community quarantine.

The DepEd said it would use the months of August until December to assess and inspect schools that could be used for limited face-to-face classes next year to ensure that there are enough facilities for the observance of minimum health standards.