Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali said 23.9 million students were enrolled in elementary and high school this school year.
Only three million are in private schools.
The number of students this school year is higher than last year’s 20 million.
The Department of Education (DepEd) admitted that it lacks 19,579 classrooms. Officials expect to end the backlog by the end of the school year.
Umali said that last year, 48,802 classrooms were needed. The government built 30,000 classrooms, but it has yet to close the gap because the number of students continues to grow.
Umali said the department also needs 61,500 new teachers.
To ensure the smooth opening of classes, Education Secretary Armin Luistro coordinated with the Philippine National Police and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Luistro said the DepEd Action Center is ready to accept queries or act on problems that students and parents may encounter during the first day of classes.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reminded parents to make sure their children bring umbrellas or raincoats when they go to school today.
In a radio interview, Gener Quitlong of Pagasa said a low pressure area that could enter the Philippine area of responsibility near Eastern Mindanao today that may spawn monsoon rains in the days to come.
Students were also advised to prepare their anti-dengue kits to ward off disease-carrying mosquitoes. Dengue is a common health concern during the rainy season.
The weather bureau may declare the official start of the rainy season today.