MANILA Philippines --- Education Secretary Armin Luistro yesterday appealed to parents and guardians of all school-age children and youth, including those with learning difficulties, to participate in the early registration day, which will be conducted on January 26, to help the Department of Education (DepEd) prepare for the opening of classes this June, 2013.
Luistro said the DepEd is conducting the annual early registration day every January to enable the department "to collate information on the expected enrollees come June and to come up with contingency measures for issues and concerns that may arise."
In the previous years, the surge of students-particularly in schools in urban areas during the first day of classes-is usually caused by late enrollment and often result to shortage in resources. "What we have in schools when classes open on June are usually for those who have registered early," Luistro said. "If we don't have exact figure on how many students will enroll this coming year, it is possible that some schools might not have enough resources," he said.
Every school opening, students in public elementary and high schools experience shortage in resources such as classrooms, textbooks, seats, sanitation facilities, and lack of teachers. While Luistro expressed confidence that there will be lesser shortage this coming school year, he said this will depend on the cooperation of the parents in enlisting their children to school early.
In school year 2012, Luistro said zero backlogs in textbooks and seats have been achieved. He added that in partnership with the private sector and other government agencies, the DepEd continues to build more classrooms while at the same time giving due course on repairs and rehabilitation of its existing facilities. The DepEd also announced the hiring of more than 61,000 teachers in 2013.
"We are on track to deliver all needed resources in our schools by December, 2013 through active sourcing of funds and the enlistment of support from our education partners," Luistro said.
To ensure the success of the early registration on January 26, Luistro said the DepEd is mobilizing its resources and personnel nationwide this early. School officials from the DepEd regional and division offices have been instructed to work closely with parents, the local government units, civil society groups, barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan officers. They have also been directed to exert more effort in the conduct of child and youth activities to ensure their registration for school year 2013-2014. "We have set January 7 to 26 for child and youth activities with January 26 as the actual early registration day in all public schools across the country," Luistro said.
Based on DepEd Order 89 series of 2012, the schools' submission and sorting of registration data is scheduled from January 28 to February 1, 2013 while the dates covering February 4 to March 1, 2013 are the dates set aside to map out plans to address resource gaps and implementation of different program interventions.
Aside from regular students in all public elementary and secondary schools, also being targeted for early registration are children from indigenous cultural minorities, street children, and those who have learning difficulties. "We also want to ensure that we can bring as many learners to school - whether they are regular students, drop-outs, first time enrollees or out-of-school children and youth," Luistro said.
Based on the DepEd order, "children who are born on October 31, 2008 or earlier shall be eligible for early enrolment in kindergarten."
"Those born on October 31, 2007, with or without kindergarten experience can enroll in Grade 1," the order added.