More than 40,000 students will be affected by the temporary closure of 748 private schools in school year (SY) 2020-2021, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported on Wednesday.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones attributed the closures to the transfer of students and teachers from private to public schools.

“Wala pa ang Covid, wala pang downturn ng economy, nagma-migrate na ang private school teachers dahil hindi mahabol ng mga maliliit na private schools ang compensation at benefits ng mga nasa public schools,” Briones said.

The shutdowns will affect 40,345 students and 3,233 teachers, according to DepEd.

As of Sept. 9, 24.3 million students have enrolled in public and private schools nationwide, nearly 90 percent of the SY 2019-2020 total.

Of the number, more than 2 million learners were enrolled in private schools, less than half of last year’s 4.3 million total.

The opening of SY 2020-2021, originally slated on Aug. 24, was moved to Oct. 5. John Ezekiel J. Hirro