Pasig City Representative Roman Romulo on Sunday expressed concern over the decline in student enrollment in private schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the education sector.
In a Dobol B sa News TV interview, Romulo, who chairs the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, said that based on data from the Department of Education (DepEd), there were around 4 million students who enrolled in private schools last school year.
However, enrollment data showed that only 1.9 to 2 million students registered in private schools this year, while 500,000 have transferred from private to public schools.
"Sa totoo lang talagang nakakaalarma rin. Ang sabi nga natin, ang dapat gawin ng DepEd at ang kanilang mga divisions ay siguraduhin kung nasaan yung mga estudyante na hindi pa nag-eenroll," Romulo said.
"In a way, itong pag-extend ng opening ng classes, nabigyan din ng pagkakataon ang DepEd na kahit paano ay makapag-communicate, malaman kung nasaan itong pamilya ng mga estudyante na hindi pa nag-eenroll, he added.
Romulo said that if students will not enroll in private schools, then these educational institutions will not be able to generate earnings which they would use to pay the salaries of their teaching and non-teaching personnel.
This could then result in private school teachers transferring to public schools, he added.
"Kailangan na talaga nating mag-isip at mag-propose ng mga polisiya kung saan, sana makatulong na rin ang national government at local government dito sa sitwasyon ng mga pribadong paaralan," the lawmaker said.
"Kailangan natin masabi sa kanila na napakahalaga ng role ng private schools natin at kailangan natin talagang matulungan rin," he added.
The Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) has urged the government to expedite the hiring of displaced private school teachers amid the expected exodus of students from private schools to public schools.
“Madaliin ang proseso ng pag-hire sa displaced private school teachers dahil napakaraming mga bata ang lumipat sa pampublikong paaralan at napakalaki po ng class size na dapat ay mas paliitin dahil iba nga po ang paraan ng pagtuturo sa kasalukuyan,” said TDC secretary-general Emelyn Policarpio. — DVM, GMA News