Christopher Frusa, planning officer of DepEd-South Cotabato division, said the number of public school dropouts in the province as of last January has dropped by an average of 1.7 percent compared to the 4.77 percent recorded last year.
He said the number of dropouts this school year in the elementary level already reached 813 pupils while the secondary level listed 1,950 students.
He said the dropout figures represent 0.85 percent and 5.2 percent of the more than 92,000 elementary pupils and high school students enrolled in public schools in the province's 10 municipalities this year.
Last year, he said, at least 1,283 elementary pupils or 1.26 percent and 3,012 high school students or 8.28 percent had dropped out before the school year ended.
“The trend shows that we will have lesser dropouts by the end of this school year or when the regular classes will end later this month,” he said in a radio interview.
Frusa said they are still consolidating the reports from the concerned schools as to what caused the pupils and students to drop out, but he said the initial feedback showed that poverty is still the main problem.
He said the other causes were the distance of some schools to the communities, early pregnancies and marriage, migration and child labor.
“There were students who could no longer afford to pay for transportation to their schools and some were forced to find work to help their families cope with the crisis,” he said.
But Frusa admitted that there pupils and students who were forced to leave their schools due to lack of consideration from their teachers or what he described as the “teacher factor.”
He said they have records or accounts that showed some students refusing to return to their schools out of fear of their teachers.
“This is something that we're trying to correct within our system because this will directly result to lesser number of dropouts,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)