GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 June) — Around 1.2 million pupils and students trooped on Monday to various public and private elementary and secondary schools in Region 12 for the opening of classes.
Dr. Allan Farnazo, Department of Education (DepEd) Region 12 director, said such figure was based on the actual enrollment data and projections for school year 2014-2015 submitted by public and private schools in the region.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
He said all 2,168 public elementary and high schools as well as a number of private schools in the area have all fully opened.
The official said he had directed all public schools to be fully prepared and immediately start with the regular classes as scheduled.
“All teachers were mandated to start with lesson number one on day one or the opening of classes,” he said, noting that all school preparations should have been completed during the 2014 Brigada Eskwela or national schools maintenance week held in the third week of May.
Despite the formal opening of classes, Farnazo said he directed all local public schools to continue accepting enrollees and that not a single centavo should be collected from them.
He said public school principals, teachers and other personnel are not allowed to collect any fees during enrollment.
Farnazo reiterated that local public schools are not allowed to refuse late enrollees unless they already exceeded their mandated threshold of 45 to 50 pupils or students per class.
“We can’t allow classes with 60 to 70 students so if a school already reaches the 45 to 50 level, then they will have no other choice but recommend the late enrollee to proceed to other nearby schools,” he explained.
Owing to this, the official said the DepEd regional office has deployed some of its personnel to areas that were projected to likely register a significant increase in enrollment for this school year.
These areas, which are considered to have a “moving population,” comprise the region’s five key cities and several municipalities that registered new economic activities and needed additional workers, he said.
“We’re specifically checking which schools were affected by the increase in enrollment and determining the new enrollees came so we can make the necessary adjustments,” he said.
DepEd records showed that Region 12’s four provinces and five cities have a total of 1,712 elementary and 456 secondary schools.
In the previous school year, the agency listed a total enrollment of 628,163 in public elementary schools and 230,788 in high schools in the area.
For this school year, Farnazo said they are still consolidating the enrollment data from the area’s nine school divisions.
“Our goal is to maximize our enrollment for all pupils and students who are in school age,” he said.
He vowed to “continue to work hard to provide our pupils and students the best possible education and ensure that as they learn, they are enjoying, protected and will eventually move to the next higher level.” (MindaNews)