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DepEd: Cordillera loses 10,226 students

La Trinidad, Benguet — The Department of Education in the Cordillera Administrative Region (DepEd-CAR) made a saddening revelation over the weekend, reporting a decrease in the number of enrollees this year by over 10,000 students in public elementary and high schools in the region.

Citing its record for school year 2014-2015, DepEd-CAR said there are only 328,642 elementary and high school students enrolled in all public schools in Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao and Baguio City.

Missing students, Manila Bulletin

MISSING STUDENTS — The drop in enrollees in public schools in the Cordillera Administrative Region is evident in this class at a public elementary school in Baguio City, which has empty seats in the back, last week. (Zaldy C. Comanda)

The figure reflects a shortfall of 10,226 students as compared with last year’s total of 338,868 enrollees — 248,074 elementary pupils and 90,794 high school, said Dr. Estela Leon-Cariño, DepEd-CAR assistant regional director.

Cariño said all seven areas in CAR reported a decrease in the number of enrollees, with the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga recording the biggest decrease in student population.

“We are trying to find out why there is a big percentage in the decrease of enrollees in Ifugao and Kalinga,” she said.

Cariño said the DepEd does not want to think that students stopped going to school due to poverty. “This could be due to transfers to private schools or in other provinces, cities or regions,” she said.

However, she also recognized that in remote areas, there are many students who stop going to school to help their family attend to their livelihood.

Despite the dip in enrolment, the number of teachers serving the region has been increased by 443. From SY 2013-2014 when there were only 8,793 elementary teachers and 3,834 high school teachers, there are now 8,973 elementary teachers and 4,097 high school teachers.

The DepEd is now preparing for a Regional Education Summit to be held in La Trinidad, Benguet to hear the issues, concerns, problems and actions of the schools division, students, and local government partners.