WITH less than three weeks before the opening of classes using the blended learning approach, a congresswoman has called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to exert extra efforts to prevent significant rise in the number of out-of-school children and youth (OSCY) in the Philippines.
“The ongoing global pandemic poses a challenge, but the journey of learning must go on and the DepEd must strive harder to truly ensure that no Filipino learner will be left behind in terms of education amid COVID-19,” Deputy House Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera said.
Herrera made the call as she expressed concern over the failure of around 7 million elementary pupils and high school students to enroll for the upcoming school year.
“This number is almost double the 3.6 million OSCY in 2017, the last year for which data are available,” Herrera said, citing figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
She added: “Even before COVID-19, millions of Filipino children and youth were out of school. The suspension of classes in mid-March as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 has created further uncertainty for millions more children and youth in the Philippines.”
As of July 16, DepEd data showed that only 20.7 million have expressed their intent to enroll in kindergarten, elementary and high school.
This represents 74.6 percent of the over 27.7 million students in public and private schools last year.
“The drop in enrollment for School Year 2020-2021 is understandabledue to the pandemic, but the DepEd must exert extra effort to ensure more students are enrolled,” Herrera said.
The DepEd recently announced it will accept late enrollees until the end of September 2020.
Herrera said the DepEd should conduct a more aggressive enrollment information drive to encourage more parents to enroll their children in school by tapping local government units (LGUs) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
“The LGUs play an important role in getting students enrolled.
I encourage the LGUs, particularly barangays, to put up tarpaulins about the enrollment and if possible, to go house-to-house to distribute the enrollment forms,” Herrera said.
“I also urge NTC to help disseminate the information regarding the acceptance of enrollees until late September,” she added.