THE Department of Education (DepEd) 7 said more basic education learners left school in the academic year 2019-2020 compared to the academic year 2018-2019.
DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said at the elementary level, comprising both private and public schools, the leave rate in the school year 2018-2019 was only at 0.23 percent while the school leaver rate for 2019-2020 was at 0.62 percent.
In the secondary level, the leave rate increased to 5.45 percent in school year 2019-2020 from 2.77 percent in school year 2018-2019.
Jimenez failed to provide the exact numbers of students who left schools in the past two academic years as the data provided by the DepEd’s centralized system was only the percentage of the school leaver rate.
He said the actual breakdown of school leavers is not yet available in the regional level. But based on previous instances, he said most of the students who dropped out of school were from the DepEd 7’s provincial divisions.
“If we translate this five percent into numbers, we can say that it constitutes a number of students. The same for this 0.62 percent,” he said.
Jimenez said the dropout indicators for the school year 2020-2021 will be determined around the third quarter of the school year, and it will be finalized by the end of the school year.
The DepEd defines dropout rate or school leavers rate as the “proportion of pupils or students who leave school during the year as well as those who complete the grade or year level but failed to enroll in the next grade or year level the following school year to the total number of pupils of students enrolled during the previous school year.”
Based on the data available in the learners information system, the usual reasons why students leave school include lack of interest in education, malnutrition, cases when students, instead of being sent to school are asked to take care of their younger siblings (usually for students in remote areas), early marriage or early pregnancy, and the parent’s unsupportive attitude towards schooling in general.
The DepEd offers them the alternative learning system (ALS) to former students who want to finish their studies. ALS is the country’s parallel learning system, a practical option other than the existing formal instruction.
Jimenez said as much as possible they target to have a lesser number of ALS enrollees every school year. A few ALS enrollees could mean a “good sign” that overaged students had been able to finish the program, go back to formal education or enrol in college.
The ALS enrollment in school year 2018-2019 reached 65, 005, and the enrollees grew to school year 60,926
in 2019-2020. The enrolled ALS students for the current school year is 31,227. The enrollment, however, is still ongoing.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Jimenez said teachers have exerted efforts to personally check on the situation of their students who have either opted to enrol late or not enrol at all for this school year.
Some teachers conducted house-to-house visits with the assistance of barangay officials.
Jimenez said some of the late enrollees for school year 2020-2021 said their parents did not enroll them right away because of fear caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. (WBS)