Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones (Photo courtesy of DepEd)

MANILA – The Department of Education on Monday welcomed the signing of a law allowing the opening of classes beyond August.

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the law adjusting the school calendar amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. He signed the law on Friday (July 17) but a copy of the law was released on Monday (July 20).

“We thank the president for signing Republic Act (RA) 11480 amending RA 7797 mandating the Secretary of Education to recommend to the Chief Executive adjustments in the school calendar in times of national emergency,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement.

Briones added that the DepEd has been consulted and conferred with the President and the legislators throughout the process.

“We will issue corresponding implementing rules and regulations (IRR) soonest as required by the law,” she said.

“We are also grateful to our Senators and members of the House of Representatives for the quick and timely passage of the law,” she added.

The DepEd said the last approved date of the opening of classes by Duterte is August 24 and it can only be changed upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Education to the President and after requisites of Section 2 (of RA 11480) are met.

Section 2 of RA 11480 refers to the IRR which must be issued in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Enrolled learners reach 21.5M

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported Monday that 21,552,490 learners have enrolled in public and private schools nationwide for the academic year 2020-2021.

Data from the department shows that as of July 20, about 20,329,197 learners have enrolled in public schools and 1,193,501 in private schools.

The Calabarzon Region logged the highest number of enrollees at 2,939,917, and the Cordillera Administrative Region, the lowest at 333,840.

The enrollees were from kindergarten to senior high school, as well as learners with disabilities and those taking the alternative learning system. (PNA)