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MANILA – The decision of the government to reset the school opening from Aug. 24 to Oct. 5 has allowed more learners to enroll for academic year 2020-2021.

As of Tuesday, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported that 23,987,944 learners have enrolled in public and private schools nationwide.

The number is 344,831 higher compared to the 23,743,113 enrolled learners as of Aug. 24.

Data from DepEd shows that as of Sept. 1, a total of 22,019,105 learners have enrolled in public schools and 1,923,179 in private schools.

Region 4-A (Calabarzon) logged the highest number of enrollees with 3,255,415, and the Cordillera Administrative Region recorded the lowest with 397,613.

The number of private school students who transferred to public schools stood at 398,754.

Of the total number of transferees, about 243,983 are elementary students, 106,120 are junior high school students, 42,054 are senior high school students, and 6,597 are learners with disabilities.

The enrollees were from kindergarten to senior high school, as well as learners with disabilities and those taking the alternative learning system.

Pursuant to the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte and as per recommendation by DepEd, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Aug. 14 issued a memorandum deferring the opening of classes to Oct. 5 “to ensure that all preparations have been made for the smooth and successful virtual opening of classes for Academic Year 2020-2021.”

Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said DepEd had recommended the deferment of the opening of classes “in response to the implications of imposition of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and in the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal.”

On Monday night, Duterte retained Metro Manila, provinces of Bulacan and Batangas, and cities of Bacolod and Tacloban under less stringent general community quarantine (GCQ) while Iligan City was placed under MECQ from Sept. 1 to 30.

The DepEd will use distance learning and online learning after Duterte rejected face-to-face classes amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Duterte earlier signed Republic Act 11480 that authorizes the country’s President to reschedule the opening of classes nationwide or in specific parts of the country to a different date in times of crisis. (PNA)