The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday said it has recorded around 28,797,660 enrolled learners nationwide, surpassing its target of 28.6 million enrollees for school year (S.Y.) 2022-2023.
The highest registry was recorded in Region IV-A (Calabarzon or the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) with over 3.5 million enrollees, followed by the National Capital Region with almost 2.5 million learners registered.
Moreover, the DepEd said the nationwide reopening of classes generally went smoothly.
In a Viber message, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said no untoward incidents were reported throughout the day.
“[The] initial assessment from all regions is that school opening went smoothly. Maayos at mapayapa ang pagbabalik-aral nga yung mga learners (The opening of classes was oderly and peaceful). No untoward incidents reported,” he said.
Irish Monleon, a Grade 7 public school teacher in Cavite, said her class for the school’s morning shift also went well even amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) threat.
“Sumunod naman lahat sa health protocol and super excited ng mga bagets. Okay lang naman na mag F2F [face-to-face] basta nasunod sa health protocol. Iba pa rin ang pagkatuto kapag nakikita ng mga mag-aaral ang kanilang guro at nasa paaralan (Everyone adhered to health protocols and the kids were super excited. Face-to-face learning is okay as long as the minimum health protocols are observed. The learning is really different if learners can physically see their teachers in school),” she told the Philippine News Agency.
She noted that they have prepared enough for the reopening of classes, and even included health safety and hazard guides for the class.
“Mayroong mga sign na need sa mga (We have signs needed in the) classroom like evacuation map, sign for health protocol, boxes for answer sheets and health declaration form,” she added.
Monleon, however, underscored the significance of the support of parents in guiding learners, as well as encouraged her students to work hard for their dreams despite the existing threat of Covid-19.
Alleged lack of chairs
Meanwhile, the DepEd-National Capital Region (NCR) has released its clarification after pictures of several learners sitting on the floor in a school in Manila surfaced on social media.
In a statement, the DepEd-NCR slammed the post which appeared to “malign the teachers” and the institution involved.
“The subject teacher showcased in the post uttered that she deliberately re-arranged the chairs to suit group activity for orientation and psychosocial support tasks… The alleged posting of the photo on social media exposing the faces and identity of the minor learners without the consent of their parents or guardians might constitute a breach or violation under data privacy law. Worse, the post is malicious and fabricated purposely to malign the teachers and school officials of Jose Abad Santos High School,” the DepEd-NCR said.
The regional office said the school in question actually has “more chairs” than learners.
“According to the school’s property custodian, the school has the following: 1,859 armchairs; 1,200 chairs with desks; and 120 laboratory chairs, 3,179 in total. Having sixty-two (62) instructional classrooms and the number of chairs available, it is appropriate to note that the school has an average of fifty-one (51) chairs per classroom, which is more than enough to accommodate the learners,” the DepEd said.
Poa, meanwhile, said although there were issues with “overcrowding,” the rest of the class reopening was generally peaceful.
“There were issues of overcrowding as to [the] parents. One of the reasons is [their] requests for enrollment certificates. Aside from that, it was an orderly back-to-school nationwide,” he said. (PNA)