The College of the Holy Spirit of Manila (CHSM) announced its closure effective 2022, citing challenges in the private education sector which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement was made to CHSM stakeholders in a letter from provincial leader Sr. Carmelita Victoria dated October 28, given the difficulties brought about by government policies on K-12, competition from state colleges and universities with free tuition, and the significant increase in public school teachers' salaries.
"The recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation. The reduction or loss in family income, mobility restrictions and social distancing requirements, and the new demands of distance learning have adversely affected enrolment, not only in CHSM, but in most private schools as well," the letter read.
"After consultation with representatives of our stakeholders, and a deep and prayerful process of discernment, we are now even more convinced that the Holy Spirit is speaking clearly to us through the signs of the times, compelling us to make this extremely difficult decision: to close CHSM at the end of academic year 2021-2022," it added.
Under the timeline, students from Grade 11 to 3rd-year college will be able to graduate from the school, should they choose to stay on. Levels K to Grade 11 and 1st to 3rd-year college will not be opened for AY 2021-2022.
CHSM has also held a series of town hall meetings over the weekend, to inform stakeholders of the development.
"We are committed to stand by you, our stakeholders, and assist you in every way we can make this transition as smooth as possible," it said.
Earlier this year, STI Educaton Services Group Inc. announced the closure of seven of its schools, and the suspension of five others also due to low enrollment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
To recall, the Department of Education (DepEd) earlier moved the opening of the school year 2020-2021 to October 5 from August 24, due to difficulties brought about by the health crisis.
Data from DepEd indicated that 24 million students had enrolled for the school year.
However, those from the poor and marginalized sectors have expressed concern over the shift to blended learning, given the difficulty to afford a stable internet connection and the lack of the necessary gadgets.
The DepEd has since rolled out television programs to aid in distance learning for students, with 27 professional teachers hired to serve as broadcasters. — DVM, GMA News