DepEd: 5 million students register during 1st week of remote enrollment

The Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday, June 5, said over 5 million students signed up during the first week of remote enrollment as the country's education system prepares to shift to a distance learning approach. 

According to DepEd, a total of 5,204,949 students in both public and private schools nationwide enrolled from June 1 to 5.

Based on the DepEd's initial data, Calabarzon (Region IV-A) had the highest number of enrollees with 1,283,358, followed by Central Luzon (Region III) with 772,035. Metro Manila – the epicenter of coronavirus outbreak in the country – came in 3rd with 680,493 enrollees. 

The initial total enrollees, however, is less than a fifth of last year's 27.7 million students.

The enrollment for basic education for school year 2020-2021 is being done remotely through phone or online platforms, and will last until June 30, the DepEd said. (READ: Remote enrollment in basic education will be implemented during pandemic)

The DepEd said students who cannot enroll using any remote method will be allowed in the last two weeks of June to physically register while observing physical distancing and health safety standards. 

Decline in enrollment 'for certain'

The DepEd earlier said a decline in enrollees was "for certain" as some parents might not be able to facilitate learning at home and some don’t have access to technology and the internet. (READ: Decline in enrollees: Parents cite finances, doubts about distance learning)

During a virtual press briefing on May 28, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said she would respect the decision of parents not to send their children to schools this year.

Just like many parents, President Rodrigo Duterte is doubtful that the country is ready for the DepEd distance learning approach.

In a recorded address aired on Friday, June 5, Duterte reiterated his earlier statement that there should be no classes until a COVID-19 vaccine is available. (READ: 'Bakuna muna': Duterte rejects August opening of classes)

"Maghintay ng vaccine (We should wait for the vaccine). Walang vaccine, walang eskwela (No vaccine, no classes). Secretary [Leonor] Briones is insisting that there is an alternative there. She has a very good program for that like teleconferencing. The technology is good. I don't know if we are ready for that," Duterte said.

The President expressed doubts about the country's capability to implement Briones' idea.

"We are talking of students here, it's millions. Mayroon ba siya? (Does she have?) But if she has or if we can afford it, we'll buy it and she can proceed with her novel idea of how the children can continue with their education," he added.

DepEd said that distance learning is a major component of learning delivery for the incoming school year. Distance learning means lessons will be delivered outside the traditional face-to-face setup. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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