748 private schools suspend operations this school year, DepEd says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 9) — Over 700 private schools offering basic education are not operating this school year, according to the Department of Education.

DepEd data as of 1 p.m. of Wednesday showed that 748 out of 14,435 private educational institutions, which opened last academic year suspended operations for academic year 2020 to 2021, a move affecting 3,233 teachers and 40,345 learners.

Most of those which stopped operations are in Central Luzon with 141 schools. It was followed by Calabarzon with 121, Metro Manila with 96, Western Visayas with 90, and Bicol Region with 46.

Jesus Mateo, undersecretary for Planning, Human Resource and Organizational Development, and Field Operations said Wednesday that the closures may be temporary.

“Kung maganda-ganda na next year, magbubukas na po sila,” Mateo said.

[Translation: If the situation improves next year, they will reopen.]

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said two of the reasons why schools have decided not to open are low enrollment turnout and transfer of teachers to public schools.

Earlier, private schools sought tax relief measures and other forms of aid from the government as they struggle to keep afloat due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Once the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act becomes law, teaching and non-teaching of private and public schools who have lost their jobs during the quarantine are entitled to a one-time cash assistance.

The measure also states that subsidies and allowances will be provided to “qualified students in public and private schools whose families are facing financial difficulties brought about by work stoppage and closure of establishments due to community quarantine.”

Briones expressed hopes the educational institutions would reconsider their decision since the “economy is improving.”

In mid-March, the government imposed a Luzon-wide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, prompting schools to shut their doors.

The health crisis has also forced the country to delay the start of school year to October 5, and shift to remote learning until a coronavirus vaccine becomes available for mass rollout.

Officials have begun gradually easing restrictions in June to help the ailing economy recover, allowing more businesses to reopen.