THE Department of Education (Deped) Central Visayas said more than 1.5 million students enrolled in the public schools this year.

Last year, it reached 1.6 million, though.

Education officials in the region said the list is still partial, as they still waiting for enrollees from the Special Education (Sped) classes and the Alternative Learning System (ALS).

But with classes now on their third week today, Deped 7 is speeding up the hiring of close to 3,500 teachers and are even facilitating the request of some local government units for them to be authorized to hire locally-funded teachers.

Based on a partial list provided by DepEd 7, about 1,572,648 students were enrolled in public schools in the region as of June 13.

Of the current number, 136,295 students were enrolled on the kindergarten level. Last year, about 144,425 students were enrolled in the same level.

Some 1,016,150 students were officially enrolled on the elementary level.

Last year, about 1,036,018 students were enrolled on the same level.

While in secondary, about 420,243 students were officially enrolled. But last year’s enrollment rate is slightly higher at 441,264.

Of the 19 divisions in the region, the Cebu Provincial Schools Division had the most number of students in the kindergarten, elementary and secondary levels at 482,507.

This is followed by Bohol Provincial School Division, with 264,608 on all three levels.

The department is also awaiting word from private schools on the number of enrollees this year.

Last year, 219,064 students were enrolled in private schools in the region.

With this year’s number of students, which is close to reaching last year’s rate, Deped 7 officials are coordinating with division heads on the possible need for additional teachers.

While the region now has 44,000 public school teachers, it is speeding up the hiring of about 3,425 new teachers and have them distributed to the divisions that need them the most.

DepEd 7 Director Carmelita Dulangon said that, as of now, the region’s school division heads are still issuing appointments for interested teacher applicants.

Aside from the hiring of nationally-funded teachers, Dulangon said some divisions in the region are now seeking authority to hire local teachers.

Recently, the city school divisions of Naga and Danao were given the green light to hire locally-funded teachers.

The move was made despite an earlier moratorium on the hiring of locally funded teachers this school year.

But Dulangon assured that DepEd will be very selective and strict when it comes to giving authority to LGUs in the hiring of locally funded teachers.