THE Department of Education (DepEd) 7 announced that the combined enrolment in public and private basic education schools and alternative learning system (ALS) in Central Visayas as of Sept. 15, 2021 has reached 2,102,999, surpassing its target for the school year 2021-2022 of two million enrolees.
The enrolment is still ongoing until Sept. 30.
Benjamin Tiongzon, chief of DepEd 7 Policy, Planning and Research Division, said 163,808 kindergarten students have enrolled in both public and private schools; 961,851 elementary students; 679,686 enrolees for junior high school; 245,576 for senior high school; and 52,078 for ALS students.
DepEd 7 assistant director Cristito Eco, during a media forum for the opening of classes held on Thursday, Sept. 16, said the start of classes for this school year on Monday, Sept. 13 was generally “smooth and successful.”
“As far as we know, there are no reports of untoward incidents from our 19 schools division offices and right now, based on our information and data from our ‘Oplan Balik Eskwela,’ and we have not received issues or problems from the field either from learner, parents, principals and teachers,” he said.
He, however, said internet connectivity still remains a challenge for this school year. He said some schools that offered online classes in 2020 have adjusted their modality into using an alternative, in case there are concerns on internet connectivity in the modular or blended learning.
“Based on our data, only a small percentage of our schools are offering internet-based or online classes,” he said.
Tiongzon said based on the data from the central office, the top three modalities based on enrolment in public schools in Central Visayas are modular printed (1,725,603 across all year levels), followed by modular (digital or using flash drives as storage of modules among others with 47,058 enrolees) and modular (online) with 12,048 enrolees.
He said recently, the DepEd central office distributed sim cards to all teachers. These sim cards, have a daily data load of one gigabyte which the teachers can use for the virtual class and to download electronic materials from the portal in the central office.
“For the children’s part, DepEd is continuously providing us with gadgets. There are batches of tablets and computers that will be delivered soon from the procurement of the central office to respond to these challenges,” he said.
In some divisions, particularly in city divisions, he said some local government units have procured and provided tablets for learners, while some municipal divisions were also provided with TVs which were set up in common areas like the barangay hall for audio-visual materials in relation to the lessons the children are in on a specific date or week.
Another challenge Eco mentioned is the delivery of modules to the learners, though he cited some good practices of each school’s divisions such as organizing volunteers from private organizations, barangay officials and other barangay sectors to help in the distribution of the learning materials to students who will be studying remotely.
“Some also set up their own distribution stalls or booths in the schools with the compliance of health protocols being implemented in a certain locality,” he said. (WBS)