Subsidy for HS students in private schools assured: DepEd

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    EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Biones yesterday assured the public the government will continue to provide subsidy for high school students enrolled in private schools, saying it is provided for under the law.

    Briones issued the statement amid the low enrollment rate in private schools this year that she attributed to loss of income or lack of livelihood or jobs of parents due to the lockdown caused by the pandemic.

    “Tuloy iyan dahil that’s provided by law (That will continue because that’s provided by law),” she said.

    High school students enrolled in private schools usually receive an enrolment subsidy of at least P8,000 a year paid directly to the private schools.

    Briones said at least three million students have yet to enroll this school year and added enrolment is still open until November.

    She said 24.5 million enrolled in public schools this year, higher than the 22.2 million they had expected.

    Public schools opened last October 5 while private schools opened in August despite the disease pandemic.

    A blended learning scheme that combines the use of online classes, lessons delivered via radio and television, and the use of modules and books are being implemented under the new normal.

    Meanwhile, Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar warned the public against causing unnecessary noise, including those coming from videoke machines, so as not to disturb students studying at home.

    Eleazar, the PNP deputy chief for administration, appealed to the public to understand the plight of students who he said are having difficulty adjusting to blended learning.

    “Let us not punish them further, that’s why we are appealing to our countrymen to avoid drinking spree, rumor-mongering and especially videoke during hours when our students are studying,” he said. “The keywords here are respect and understanding.

    “Let us not be insensitive and act as if it is your absolute right to do the things that please you to do. Remember, your right to engage in noisy talks in your neighborhood ends when the right of the students to study in peace and in silence begins,” said Eleazar.

    “Your right to sing using your videoke also ends when the right of the students not to be distracted to focus on their learning modules begins. We will make sure you will be held liable,” said Eleazar.

    He also urged parents to report the noisy activities of their neighbors through PNP Helpline 16677, 0998-849-0013 for Smart users, 0917-538-2495 for Globe users and PNP-Highway Patrol Group Hotline 0926-225-5474.

    The DepEd said its Public Assistance Command Center (PACC) received 96 calls from parents and guardians who sought assistance during the opening of blended distance learning on Monday.

    DepEd Undersecretary for Planning, Human Resource and Organizational Development and Field Operations Jess Mateo said before classes got going, the PACC received an average of 500 to 600 calls per day.

    He said the low number of calls last Monday showed all the concerns and inquiries regarding the opening of classes this year had been resolved.

    “The command center of DepEd will be available until Friday this week” he added.

    He said most of the concerns and inquiries raised were about late enrollment and transferring from private to public schools, and the schedule of delivery of self-learning modules.

    The DepEd declared the opening of the new school year under the new normal as a success, with 24.7 million students enrolled in public and private schools and 866,512 teachers involved. – With victor Reyes and Noel Talacay