DepEd hits target number of enrollees, but millions of student seen to be left out

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 29) — The Department of Education has reached its target number of enrollees in public and private schools less than a month before the next school year begins, even as millions of students stand to be left out.

DepEd has said it is targeting at least 80 percent of last year’s figure of 27.7 million, or 22.16 million students.

Data from the DepEd shows as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, at least 22,233,806 students have enrolled in public and private schools, surpassing the target.

Most or 20,841,279 million learners have registered in public basic educational institutions, while 1,359,984 million have enrolled in private institutions

The department earlier conceded that it would not be able to hit its initial target of nearly 28 million enrollees this school year despite extending the registration period due to the COVID-19 crisis. The education sector has veered away from the traditional face-to-face classes pending a vaccine for the viral disease, and many families have expressed difficulties in coping with the changes due to financial and other reasons.

It's present target leaves out more than five million children based on last year's enrollment, although the Alliance of Concerned Teachers has a higher estimate of 7 million children who failed to enroll this school year.

The teachers' group has also denounced DepEd for pushing through with its schedule to start the school year despite having no "plans" for the millions of children who failed to enroll, and many families have expressed difficulties in coping with the changes due to financial and other reasons.

Under the blended education system, delivery of lessons could be done through the use of DepEd’s online portal, television, radio and learning modules in digital or printed packets. A DepEd official cited the digital and printed packets as the most preferred module so far.

Academic year 2020 to 2021 will formally start on August 24 as the DepEd sees no reason to further delay school opening.