Education Secretary Armin Luistro asked militant groups to help the Department of Education (DepEd) track down students who have not enrolled instead of blaming the government for the alleged low enrolment rate this year.
“Since the Senior High School program is already a law and its implementation nationwide has commenced, we invite the critics who are worried about enrolment to instead track the names of those who need assistance and help them enrol,” Luistro said on Tuesday.
The Kabataan party-list on Tuesday slammed the Education department for declaring Monday’s class resumption as the “best school opening thus far,” saying that the agency is “grossly downplaying the horrendous effect of K-to-12 [Kindergarten to Grade 12] program to many students and families.”
“Secretary Luistro is quick to hail the opening of classes as a success. Never mind the fact that many students still have to hold classes in hallways or in short shifts. Never mind the fact that close to half a million have been forced to drop out due to the full implementation of the K-to-12 program,” Sarah Elago, the group’s incoming representative, said.
“DepEd is intent in downplaying the dire ramifications of the K-to-12 program. Sec. Luistro, one student forced to drop out is one too many. The stubborn implementation of K-to-12 has resulted to up to 400,000 drop-outs – how can you sleep at night?” she stressed.
As of Monday, of the estimated 1.5 million Grade 10 completers, only 600,000 enrolled in Grade 11.
But Luistro said they are still waiting for other regions to submit their enrolment figures.
The education department earlier claimed that around 25 million students are expected to return to school. Of this number, one million are in Grade 11.
But based on DepEd records, more than 600,000 Grade 11 students enrolled in public schools, while at least 400,000 more will be enrolled in private schools.
Luistro noted that the actual total number of enrolees will be known on Friday.
“We will only find out the actual dropout rate by Friday so the estimate of 200,000 to 400,000 is at best an estimate,” he said.
He added that DepEd will open its alternative learning education to ensure that no student will be left behind.
“Yes, we will open our Alternative Learning System (ALS) program. This program may also develop a non-formal senior high school program for those who may not be able to enrol in the formal program,” Luistro said.
“For those who cannot really study full time, they may be invited to consider enrolling in the ALS program which will soon include senior high school,” he added.
Luistro said he also directed all school heads and school administrators to track down their students who have not yet enrolled in senior high school.
Senior High School students can choose from four programs: Accountancy, Business and Management, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and General Academic; Sports; Arts and Design; and various specializations under the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL) track.