MANILA, May 22, 2019 – Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones on Wednesday underscored the Department of Education’s (DepEd) efforts to ensure the readiness of almost 62,000 schools—47,205 of which are public—that will accommodate the projected 27.8 million learners in the coming school year.

“Given the continuously increasing population of our schoolchildren and the increasing number of challenges that we have to hurdle, we are also increasing and expanding our existing efforts to deliver quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education,” Briones stated during the Weekly Economic Press Briefing held in Malacañang.

From a total of 27,018,509, the number of learners is expected to rise to 27,817,737—a 2.95% growth rate from the previous school year.

Gearing up
Briones also shared the Department’s programs, projects, and activities in preparation for the opening of classes on June 3 which include the early registration held from January 26 to February 22. Through child mapping and community advocacies carried out by schools, approximately five million new entrants from Kindergarten and Grades 1, 7, and 11 were able to register early.

The Brigada Eskwela, which kicked off nationwide on May 20, gathered learners, parents, teachers, community members, partners from the public and private sector, and other stakeholders to contribute their time, effort, and resources to ensure that the schools are safe and conducive to learning come the opening of classes. The national schools maintenance program is scheduled until May 25.

“We are grateful for the massive outpouring of love and support to our public schools,” Briones relayed, citing the consistent increase in resources generated and volunteers mobilized by the program.

Finally, Oplan Balik Eskwela shall provide a venue at the Central, Regional, and Division Offices to address the problems and concerns encountered by the public at the start of the school year. The Public Assistance and Command Center at the Central Office shall operate from May 27 to June 7.

From access to quality
Briones further stated that the Department is intent to address the remaining gaps in terms of access to education. As such, it shall continue to expand and intensify its Alternative Learning System (ALS)—a second chance education program for out-of-school youth and adults.

DepEd shall also continue its programs such as the school-based feeding and last mile schools, and establish schools in barangays without elementary schools, and in areas with limited secondary schools.

In terms of quality, DepEd shall conduct a review of the curriculum; upgrade the professional development of teachers and school leaders through the transformation of the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP); institutionalize Government-Industry-Education (GIE) sector coordination and partnerships; and continuously improve the teaching-learning environment.

In conclusion, the Secretary assured the public that DepEd, through the unwavering support of the Duterte administration and everyone who is willing to invest in education, shall pursue its reforms and agenda for the benefit of the Filipino learners.