Private school enrollment drops in CV

THE Department of Education (DepEd) Central Visayas has acknowledged a low enrollment turnout in private schools for the school year 2022-2023, citing the parents’ financial difficulties as one of the main reasons for the decline.As of September, only about 200,000 enrollees were listed by private schools in the region, while about 1.8 million were enrolled in public elementary and high schools.Benjamin Tiongzon, chief of DepEd 7’s policy, planning and research division, said many parents opted to transfer their children from private to public schools because they lacked money to pay for tuition and miscellaneous fees.On August 19, the DepEd’s Central Office in Manila said in a statement that about 425 private schools had decided to permanently close down due to low enrollment turnouts and other challenges brought about by the pandemic.Tiongzon said when DepEd introduced blended learning at the spike of the Covid-19 pandemic last 2020, schools were given the option to either educate their students through learning modules or online classes.Many private schools chose online classes and increased their tuition fees to fund the gadgets used in each class.“These gadgets are expensive. So, this could have been the major reason for the students’ transfer (from private to public schools),” said Tiongzon.Target enrolleesDepEd 7 needs about 50,000 more enrollees to achieve its target for private and public basic education institutions in the region for school year 2022-2023.DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, they now have 2,077,485 enrollees listed, which is about 97.25 percent of the previous school year’s enrollment target, which was 2,136,141 students.Jimenez said they aim to increase the number of enrollees this school year by two percent before the enrollment period ends in October.For his part Tiongzon, in a separate interview, said they are still 90 to 95 percent confident that the agency will surpass its enrollment target this school year.Tiongzon pointed out that the number of enrollees is increasing although the increase each day is only minimal.Tiongzon said they are waiting for data inputs from other institutions, particularly private schools, from their Learner Information System (LIS). The LIS is a DepEd tool that serves as a national registry for all learners in Basic Education. It provides detailed information on a learner’s registration status enrolled in schools run or licensed by the DepEd.