Special permit required if private schools start classes ahead of general opening

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THE Department of Education (DepEd) 7 said private schools and non-DepEd schools in the region which intend to start their classes ahead of the general school opening for the school year (SY) 2021-2022 may already do so provided they have acquired a special permit from DepEd 7.

“Actually, (it’s) dependent on the private schools as to when will be the opening of their classes for SY 2021-2022 as long as it is within the provisions of the law,” said DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez.

He said they, again, require the private schools to submit their Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BELCP) along with their proposed dates for the start of their classes for the incoming school year.

He said it should also be stipulated in the private schools’ BELCP that they will be using distance learning for the incoming school year.

“No face-to-face and then we’ll give them again the special permit, just like what happened in the last school year,” he said.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, in her latest advisory to private and non-DepEd schools, said the schools should strictly implement only distance learning modalities.

“Private schools and non-DepEd public schools intending to start classes ahead of the general school opening shall submit the relevant documents to the regional director as required under DepEd Order 13, s. 2020 and DepEd Order 17, s. 2020 on readiness assessment,” reads a portion of the advisory.

Jimenez said there are already some, out of a thousand private schools, in the region that submitted the required documents as they intend to begin their classes either in July or August.

These applications for special permit, he said, are still currently in their Quality Assurance Division for review.

He said private schools can also opt to join the public schools in opening their classes for this school year; though as of this writing, the approval of the general school opening is pending.

President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to give his decision on when public school classes will open, although the DepEd initially proposed to have it on Aug. 23, Sept. 6 or Sept. 13.

Although Briones withdrew the proposal for limited face-to-face classes for the incoming school year, Jimenez said they are still continuing with their planning and preparations for the limited face-to-face setup, so that when the President gives his go signal, they will be ready.

Jimenez also acknowledged the possibility that because of the increase in tax for proprietary educational institutions from 10 percent to 25 percent, more private schools will temporarily close and stop operating for the incoming school year.

He said about 60 private schools in the region temporarily stopped operating in the previous school year primarily due to low enrollment.

He said he still awaits these schools’ submission if they decide to open again this school year or not.

Many students from private schools transferred to public schools, which recorded a jump in enrollment last year compared to the year before the pandemic. (WBS)

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