Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

MANILA — This could be the quietest enrolment ever unveiled by the Department of Education (DepEd) in years.

This is the monthlong virtual enrolment for millions of public-school students begins today, Monday, 01 June 2020, a first of its kind in years as the country tries to avoid the spread of the deadly corona virus.  

“The first two weeks shall completely be remote enrollment, where there will absolutely be no face-to-face interactions,” DepEd’s Order No. 008 said.

The same order also sets the guidelines for the enrollment period. It also applies even on areas not badly hit by COVID-19.

The DepEd said physical enrollment might be allowed in the third week of June depending on the situation of the pandemic or as warranted by the local government unit.

“Making physical appearance in school for enrollment purposes shall be the last option for parents or guardians or learners,” said Education Secretary Leonor Briones.

Remote enrollment calls for class advisers to contact students from the previous school year.

He or she will take care of collecting and entering their data into the End-of-School-Year Learner Information System.

Fresh kindergarten enrollees’ parents are also advised to communicate remotely on their intent to enroll their children through digital platforms established by schools.

Public-school students expected to enroll this school year could top last year’s 23 million students in anticipation of an avalanche from private school transferees.

Opening of classes is set Aug. 24 where face-to-face interaction might still be prohibited depending on the magnitude of the pandemic, a situation wherein schools had been advised to prepare to shift to online classes, printed modules or learning through television and radio.

PH’s largest union of teachers, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said it welcomed the DepEd order (DEO 008) that similarly mandated a work-from-home setup for public school teachers from June 1 to 5.

The only lowdown it said was DepEd’s failure to adequately address its concerns regarding mass testing for education workers and the provision of laptops and internet allowance.

“It has yet to issue the comprehensive guidelines on back-to-work arrangements and how safety will be ensured in the workplace,” ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio said.

“If this is any indication of how the government will fulfill its obligations relative to the August school opening, we are in for great dangers.”

2M students from private schools

Meantime, Joseph Noel Estrada, managing director of Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations, claimed that private schools throughout the country could lose as many as 2 million students this school year owing to COVID-19 which curtailed spending power of families.

The more than two months of lockdown in the country in an effort to stem the tide of the virus stunted economic activities and rendered hundreds of thousands of Filipinos jobless here and abroad.

“Prior to the pandemic there was a steady decline [in private school enrollment] that reached 25 percent year in year out,” Estrada said at a virtual Senate hearing on May 21. “But we’re anticipating more.”

Estrada said were about 4 million private school students in the basic education system last year while public schools had 23 million in public schools. (ia/SovereignPH.com)

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