MORE than 400,000 children in Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, return to public elementary and high schools on Monday, June 1, the first day of classes for school year 2015-2016.

Classes for most private schools will start on June 8.

Michell Acoyong, chief of School Governance and Operation Division of Department of Education (DepEd)-Negros Occidental, said they expect 28,000 kindergarten and 231,000 elementary pupils from Grades 1 to 6 to be back in 595 schools.

Also, 92,000 students in Grades 7 to 10 in 115 public high schools have enrolled all over the province, he said.

The figures do not include those in city divisions in the province.

Acoyong said the DepEd has enough resources in terms of teachers, classrooms, chairs, and textbooks because they are now using learner materials and modules that are gradually given to students.

Anthony Liobet, provincial schools division superintendent, said although the total number of enrollees has not yet been confirmed, a census from the National Economic Development Authority show that the number of this year’s enrollees will increase.

The total number of this year’s enrollees can only be determined when the enrollment ends on June 12, Liobet said.

In Bacolod City, almost 100,000 students are expected to attend school this year.

Cynthia Demavivas, city schools division superintendent, said over Bombo Radyo Bacolod Sunday that their target number of enrollees for elementary schools is 67,000 pupils while for high schools, 26,000.

So far, only 34 out of 44 public elementary in the city reported 52,000 pupils officially enrolled. The 10 other schools are expected to submit their reports on Monday.

As of May 31, only eight out of 22 public high schools have submitted their reports.

The ratio of teachers to students is one teacher to 45 students or pupils, but in kindergarten, it is one teacher to 25 kindergartens.

Meanwhile, a protest rally against the K to 12 program will be held Monday in La Carlota City simultaneous with the opening of classes.

Negros Movement for Quality Education convenor Ronald Ian Evidente said a group of parents and youth in La Carlota City will join the protest, slamming the implementation of K to 12 and pushing for its suspension.

Evidente said the rally will start after lunch to be followed by another action protest in Bacolod City, which will be led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Western Visayas, calling for just wages and benefits of the teachers.

He added that they were able to gather more than a thousand signatures since last week and they are positive to reach the target 500,000 signatures soon.

"We firmly believe that DepEd is not ready for the full implementation of K to 12 in 2016," Evidente said.

The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Noppo) and Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) go on heightened alert for the opening of classes today.

Senior Superitendent Samuel Nacion, officer-in-charge of Noppo, said Sunday all the city and municipal police station chiefs were directed to deploy personnel to different public and private schools to ensure the safety of students.

He said that in every school, policemen were assigned to man the assistance desks.

Senior Superitendent Melchor Coronel, officer-in-charge of BCPO, also ordered all the station chiefs to secure the safety of parents and students within their areas of jurisdiction.

Coronel said hundreds of traffic enforcers and motorcycle policemen were also deployed near school campuses to ensure the smooth flow of traffic. (TDE/CNC/EPN/MAP)