The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday reported that 13,752,109 students have enrolled in public and private schools for Academic Year (AY) 2020-2021 as of June 23.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the number was half the department’s target number of enrollees, but was still expected to increase as enrollment shifted from online to drop-box methods.

“Sabihin natin, bakit kalahati lang ang naka-enroll? This is because iyong para sa walang access, kasi online ang enrollment natin for the first two weeks; ngayon, drop box ang ginagamit. So sa mga bayan na walang connectivity, may mga drop boxes kung saan ang mga parents doon nila ilagay iyong kanilang mga enrollment forms ng kanilang mga anak, pi-pick up-in ito,” Briones said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Briones also said many private schools had yet to start their enrollment, and DepEd expected a July-August enrollment window for these schools.

DepEd’s month-long enrollment for public schools started on June 1.

Briones said more than 300,000 teachers have been trained on how to utilize the department’s online learning tools.

AY 2020-2021 will use blended learning methods as a Covid-19 vaccine has yet to be formulated. Briones and President Rodrigo Duterte had said no face-to-face classes would be held until a vaccine is found.

“[Pero] Covid or no Covid, tuloy ang edukasyon,” Briones said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro