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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Uncertainty in employment, poverty impact on school enrollment

Poverty and unemployment impact on basic education underscored

MANILA – Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones today said since last year, they have noted the reduction in enrollment and the transfer of students in basic education to public schools from private institutions.

Speaking at the virtual presser for the Human Development and Poverty Cluster hosted by PCOO Asst. Secretary JV Lim Arcena, Secretary Briones said there was a clear increase in enrollment in the public sector schools because there was migration from private to public schools.

“There were very significant reductions in enrollment in the private schools because education is related to the state of employment, to the state of poverty,” she said. She said her office has been campaigning with the Department of Finance, the private sector and the multilaterals to help in the provision of digital tools, gadgets for our children, “not only for our children, but also for our teachers.”

Speaking of challenges, Secretary Briones said the challenge towards digitalization and technology were already there even before the onset of the pandemic.

“But the challenge worsened,” she added. Everyone who are interested in education know the importance and significance of face-to-face sessions as the children need it, the teachers and parents need it as well as the schools. However, she underscored the importance of protecting everyone from the dangers and threats from COVID-19.

She expressed optimism President Duterte may decide to open schools in August or September as he continues to assess the situation of both teachers and learners.

“To summarize, poverty and education have always been closely interrelated. We did not need a pandemic to tell us that because that was already the situation. And therefore, the challenge for governments, not only the Philippines but the rest of the world, is to compensate the gap especially right now the trend in communications, in education of course is towards digitalization, towards technology, and that even worsens or exacerbates the gap even more, and this is where the government has to come in,” she concluded.

Earlier, citing the latest government figures, IBON Foundation said the country’s job situation may well be considered bleak and far from returning to the pre-pandemic levels as 3.7 million remained unemployed as of May 2021 and has remained higher by 1.3 million than in January 2020.

“The 2.2 million increase in employment is not enough to accommodate the additional 3.5 million Filipinos in the labor force, still leaving over a million unemployed. The number of underemployed has only decreased by 807,000,” IBON said in a statement. (Melo M. Acuña)

Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones (File Photo/Screen Grab from RTVM/PTV4/PCOO/Melo M. Acuna)

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