Schools open for 25.7 million Filipino students

MANILA—All set for the coming school year.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is ready to welcome 25.7 million students for the opening of classes Monday.

“Months before the opening of classes, the department has already taken steps to prepare all public elementary and high schools across the country. With this, we are optimistic that all our preparations are in place and are looking forward to a smooth opening of classes,” said DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro.

“Our Balik Eskwela partners also implemented projects that support these objectives,” he added.

Nationwide, DepEd is expecting a total enrolment of 25.7 million students; 22.05 million of which are in public schools or 86 per cent and an estimated 3.65 million are in the private schools.

Of said total enrolees, 7.73 million are secondary, with 5.85 in public schools and 1.88 in private schools; and 15.47 million are elementary, with 14.25 million in public schools and 1.22 million in private schools.

This year, the department is also anticipating 1.93 million kindergarten pupils who will have their first taste of education under the universal kindergarten program during the school year and summer.

Luistro also emphasized the department’s efforts to meet the Education For All goal by improving the participation rate amongst students.

“Our measures are not only geared towards the opening of classes but also to enjoin parents to send their children to school,” he said.

DepEd reminds the parents and school administrators that basic public education is free and that no collection should be done in the entire month of June and July, as per DepEd Order No. 41 series of 2011.

“The only way to achieve higher outcomes in these preparations is to engage all sectors of society. DepEd is very grateful for the overwhelming support of our stakeholders to our programs,” added Luistro.

The recently concluded Brigada Eskwela mobilized the local communities, local government units, private sector and non-government organizations in the repair and construction of school buildings.

On the other hand, the department has also organized its Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) campaign which established a working tie-up with various school security forces to ensure the safety of students returning to schools for school year 2011-2012.

The OBE-Information and Action Center Task Force is also going on at the DepEd Central Office to address common problems encountered during school opening, provide information and coordinate with government agencies, communities and other educational stakeholders.

“With all of these preparations, we can be assured that no student will skip the first day of the school year. I urge parents, teachers and the entire community to actively participate and ensure that our children are in school for the opening of classes,” added Luistro.

OBE is an inter-agency task force composed of the Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of the Interior and Local Government along with the Philippine National Police, Department of Transportation and Communication, Department of National Defense, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical, Astronomical and Scientific Administration, Metro Manila Development Authority, Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System with its concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water, and the MERALCO.

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