ILOILO CITY – According to the data released by the Department of Education last September 9, 2020, of around 14,000 private schools in the country, 748 schools stopped its operation this school year 2020-2021.
Of the private educational institutions forced to shutdown this academic year, majority came from Central Luzon with 141 schools, followed by CALABARZON with 121 schools, Metro Manila with 96 schools, Western Visayas with 90 schools, and the Bicol Region with 46 schools. The shutting down of these schools, affected 3,233 teachers and 40,345 students.
In Western Visayas, the shutting down of private schools affected 286 teachers and 2,117 students. There are a total of 1,138 private schools in the region.
According to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, private schools stopped their operation because of the low enrollment rate and because of the transferring of the teachers to public schools.
In a Senate hearing last May, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) expressed the loss of nearly 2 million students since they either transfer from private to public schools or stop going to school because the income of their parents were affected by COVID-19 pandemic. The group also expressed then that there is a possibility that some private schools may shutdown if the government will not support them.
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Private Schools – Panay (ACT Private Schools Panay) expressed their dismay towards the minimal support of the government to the affected sectors of education
Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act of 2020 or Bayanihan 2, displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel, including part-time faculty, in all school levels, will only receive a one-time cash assistance worth 5,000-8,000 pesos.
According to ACT, this allocation is not sufficient and will not be an effective support considering the impact of the pandemic to the sector. Only around 37,500-60,000 affected teaching personnel will receive the assistance while, according to reports from the media, around 407,757 teachers and staff were affected in the first month of Enhanced Community Quarantine. The group also added that around 119,819 private school teachers from 17 regions were displaced since June due to low enrollment percentage this year.
The group demands for six-month financial assistance worth 10,000 pesos to all affected private school personnel and four-month wage subsidy program to private education institutions, which will address the national family living wage of 31,089 pesos, as declared by the IBON Foundation./PT