AROUND three million students have yet to enroll as of Monday, October 5, 2020, the opening of distance learning classes for school year 2020-2021.
Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Jess Mateo said late enrollments are still accepted.
More than 24 million learners, or 89 percent of last school year’s enrollment, have enrolled in K to 12 basic education this school year despite reservations over DepEd’s distance learning program.
Of this number, 22.5 million are enrolled in public schools, Mateo said.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said the opening of this school year is a sort of victory against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
"Today, we celebrate a great victory. We declare our victory over Covid-19, the destroyer of our lives. We will not allow Covid-19 to destroy our children's education and their future," Briones said during the department's school opening program.
"Igagapang ng DepEd at lahat ng nagsusuporta (sa) DepEd. Kailangan ipagpatuloy ang pag-aaral. Kailangan igapang natin maski maraming challenges," she added.
DepEd is implementing distance learning through modular, online and TV/radio-based instruction.
Deped said 90 percent of the printed self-learning modules have already been distributed to public school teachers nationwide.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his message, said the shift to distance learning is the mark of the new era for education.
"The school opening of this year is a momentous occasion because it is pushing through despite (the) global health crisis due to Covid-19," he said.
"This time also ushers in a new era in our basic education program as we now venture into distance and online learning," Duterte added.
Police patrol vs videoke, drinking in public places
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield has ordered police units to beef up police visibility and patrolling, especially in residential areas, to minimize unnecessary noise to support students attending online classes starting on Monday.
Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, JTF commander, said based on the experiences of their policemen on the ground, quarantine violators would usually scamper and return to their houses when they see police vehicles approaching their areas.
He said it was proof that they are aware of their quarantine violations, such as failure to wear face masks and holding mass gatherings.
“The police presence on the streets and in the community is also in time for the start of the classes for public schools nationwide. Through the police presence in the community, our online learners would not be disturbed and distracted by the noises coming from the people who hang out on the streets,” said Eleazar.
On orders of Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Eleazar said he also instructed police commanders to coordinate with the local government units, particularly at the barangay level, for the implementation of local ordinances that prohibit drinking in public places and regulate the use of videoke.
“Our local police personnel and barangay officials should work together to extend all the necessary assistance to make sure that our online learners would be able to concentrate on their study,” Eleazar said.
“Your JTF Covid Shield understands the difficulties in online classes especially for the students because almost all of them are new on this. That is why we are finding ways to help them at least in making their homes and their community conducive for learning,” he added. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)