Partial data shows plunge in private-school enrollment

PARTIAL enrollment data of the Department of Education (DepEd) showed that the number of enrollees in private schools nationwide was lower, registering only 118,000, compared to the 2 million students who were enrolled in school year (SY) 2020-2021, in the first pandemic year.

“As of today [August 23], there are only 118,000 enrollees in the private basic education schools, out of 2 million students last academic year SY 2020-2021, based on DepEd’s partial data,” Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (Cocopea) Chairman Dr. Anthony Tamayo said in a statement on Monday.

Prior to the pandemic in SY 2019-2020, the enrollment in private basic education schools was at 4.3 million students.

“This latest enrollment data emphasizes how the pandemic has affected the viability of private educational institutions and the urgency of a policy intervention from the government,” Tamayo said.

He added: “With the few remaining number of days in the legislative calendar and the number of urgent measures lined up in Congress, we are racing against time to have the law enacted in this 18th Congress.”

He stressed that this legislative policy intervention, once enacted into law, will “provide” the needed stability to education not only in this time of pandemic but also for generations to come, as  it aligns with all existing and future initiatives to revive our battered economy.

“We further hope for the prompt action of the Senate on the measure as declared by Sen. Pia Cayetano, the Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee as it now shifts the legislative process from the lower House to the Senate,” the Cocopea official said.

Delta threat

Despite the threat of Covid-19 and its variants, particularly Delta, Tamayo stressed that private schools are committed to continue with online learning to keep both students and teachers safe.

Tamayo said online learning has been their main teaching method during the pandemic as they adapt to a “better normal.”

“Cocopea member-schools are resolved to continue with online learning for this school year. The presidents of the associations that comprise Cocopea agree that the safety of our students and stakeholders at this time of the pandemic is our paramount concern.”

At present, Cocopea member-schools are devoting their resources to online learning, including teacher-training and upgrading of their IT infrastructure.

“Online learning allows us to keep both our students and teachers safe while accomplishing our mission of delivering quality education,” he said.

“We are also committed to follow health and safety protocols in the workplace as outlined by the concerned government agencies like the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force]Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Health, and the Commission on Higher Education. We have been strictly enforcing these protocols since the pandemic began. We continue to be cautious and practice vigilance, especially now with the spread of the Delta variant,” he assured.

Founded in 1961, Cocopea is the umbrella organization of private schools in the country and takes the lead in public policy development for the sector.

Some 2,500 private schools around the country are part of this umbrella organization. The other associations that comprise Cocopea are: Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU); Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP); Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAPSCU); Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities (ACSCU); and the Tech-Voc Schools Association of the Philippines (TVSA).

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