Davao Region’s Public Schools Enlist More Enrollees

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Even amid the coronavirus disease crisis, the number of enrollees in public schools in Davao Region will likely reach or surpass the numbers in 2019, a Department of Education-Region 11 (DepEd-11) official said.

Speaking at the One Davao on Covid-19 virtual presser on Friday (July 24), DepEd-11 spokesperson Jenelito Atillo said up to 1,059,160 learners enrolled in various public schools in Davao Region for the 2020-2021 school year.

Enrollment officially ended on July 15, but Atillo said DepEd has extended the enrollment until September. Classes with alternative learning modalities are scheduled for August 24.

With the extension of enrollment, Atillo is optimistic enrollees would either equal or even surpass last year’s 1,161,883 figure.

According to DepEd’s data, the breakdown for this year’s total number of enrollees are as follows: Kindergarten-75,147, elementary (Grade 1-6) -550,179, Junior High School (Grade 7 -10) -338,652, and Senior High School (Grade 11-12)- 95,222.

Meanwhile, the total number of enrollees in private schools for the school year 2020-2021 has drastically reduced to 75,539 from last year’s 196,640, Atillo said. DepEd’s data show the following breakdown: Kindergarten-2,518, Elementary-16,475, Junior High School- 25,333, and Senior High School-29,230.

Atillo said the decrease could be attributed to the significant number of pupils transferring from private schools to public schools due to the economic impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the recent “One Davao on COVID-19 virtual presser,” DOLE-Davao Mediator-Arbiter Connie Torralba said Covid-19 has adversely affected some 10,000 companies in the region, impacting around 200,000 workers.

At the national level, a total of 2,068 establishments had closed down over the Covid-19 crisis, displacing 69,022 workers, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said at the Laging Handa briefing in June.

Bello also said the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded 7.3 million workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. However, he made it clear that the number is based on a survey and was not the actual figure.

As this developed, Atillo is optimistic public schools could enroll more learners during the extended enrollment period.

Teachers, modules ready

Atillo said teachers are now ready for the class opening, and so are the modules that will be used in the alternative learning process.

DepED assured to provide quality education for SY 2020-2021 through the integration of Self-Learning Modules (SLMs) with the alternative learning delivery modalities–modular, television-based, radio-based instruction, blended, and online.

He said SLMs are delivered in printed format to schools that are located in coastal areas, far-flung provinces, and communities without access to the internet or electricity. For households with gadgets and devices, the Department has announced that SLMs can also be accessed online or offline.

“DepEd is prepared for the class opening so with the modules. The modules emanate from two sources from DepEd central office for crafting for all the modules and download it and secondly regional offices and school division offices to produce their own modules to augment supply,” he said.

He also cautioned that despite the preparations, DepEd is expecting minor hiccups as it adapts to the new normal.

“This is not going to be smooth since this is a new situation so we consider surely there will be birth pains. We don’t expect 100 percent smooth operations, and we are expecting challenges but we will try to respond positively and appropriately,” he added.

Private sector partners

Still, Atillo is optimistic DepEd-11 can fulfill its mandate, noting that the agency is getting support from partner radio and local television stations.

“We have been talking to radio stations and local television stations, and they are willing to help,” he said, adding DepEd is aware of the problems facing parents such as the lack of laptops and other gadgets and internet connectivity.

This is the reason, he said, that DepEd has also prepared modules designed for radio and televisions that demand merely the use of battery and power.

“We are trying our best to address these problems and we are there to respond immediately. We thank the local radio and television stations so with local government units (LGUs) who are also helping us with this kind of new normal situation,” he said. (PNA)

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