THE Department of Education (DepEd) said that stand-alone private schools are covered by the postponement of school opening on August 24.
This was the clarification made by Education Secretary Leonor Briones after the Department announced on Friday that school opening has been moved to October 5.
According to DepEd stand-alone private schools are covered by the postponement and that private schools which have not yet opened should comply and start their classes on Oct. 5.
However, private schools that have opened their respective school years may continue holding classes even if the August 24 school opening has been moved to October 5.
Briones, in a virtual press briefing, explained that the decision of President Duterte to defer school opening applies to both public and private schools in the basic education level.
“Usually, these private schools are attached colleges and locally-established universities and the CHED (Commission on Higher Education) already said that they are not affected by the law on school openings because they are in higher education although they have basic education units,” Briones said in a statement.
Some schools, Briones said, have already started their classes. “A school in Siquijor started classes in June and I believe, with the help of the local government, they are doing well,” she explained. “Sayang naman kung pipigilan natin sila ,” she added.
As of August 5, there are 1, 277 private schools that have started their operations before the August 24 school opening. Region 4-A (Calabarzon) has the biggest number of schools that have started operations with 402, followed by the National Capital Region (NCR) with 243, and Region 3 (Central Luzon) with 127.
Private schools appeal
Meanwhile, private schools has appealed to the President to allow them to proceed with their school opening schedule.
Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), which is the voice of private schools in the Philippines which is composed of more than 2,500 educational institutions, asked to be allowed to proceed with the August 24 school opening.
COCOPEA has five member-associations that include Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAPSCU); Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU); Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP); Association of Christian Schools Colleges and Universities (ACSCU); and Technical Vocational Schools Association of the Philippines (TVSA).
The group said it remains unclear to private schools if they are included in the deferment of school opening.
“We appeal to the President, to allow private schools to continue with school opening as scheduled, as we have been tirelessly preparing at the onset of this pandemic and massive efforts and solutions were made to address the learning crisis,” COCOPEA said — noting that the private education sector is “ready for school opening” without in-person classes through the use of various teaching and learning delivery modalities.
Many,private schools, according to COCOPEA, have already opened their school year as early as July.
There are 2,195 private schools that are scheduled to start their classes on August 24; 26 schools before the first week of September; 15 schools in the first week of September, and at least 75 schools without definite date yet.
Meanwhile , progressive students’ group said the announcement for the postponement of the opening of classes by the DepEd is a public admission of their unpreparedness, contrary to their claims the past two months.
This is also a vindication for groups such as Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) who have belied their claims after consistently receiving reports the past months from both students and school personnel all over the country.
“It is our belief that the one month and a half postponement shall only strengthen the facade of their unpreparedness and further give the impression that the DepEd stands correct that the nation is ready for their untested and haphazard blended learning schemes,”SPARK said.