COCOPEA survey: 400 private schools facing closure over low enrollment

Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (COCOPEA) reported that around 400 private schools could face closure due to low enrollment amid the coronavirus crisis.

Bernadette Reyes reported Wednesday on “24 Oras,” COCOPEA showed 80 percent of the 500 privates schools it surveyed are at risk of closure.

“Eighty percent no’ng mga natanong ang nagsabi na hanggang katapusan na lamang ng Agosto ang kanilang resources… Pagkatapos niyan, they are already considering closing down operations,” COCOPEA managing director Joseph Noel Estrada said.

(Eighty percent of those surveyed said their resources would last until August only. After that, they are already considering closing down operations.)

The survey also showed around 370,000 private school teachers went on no work, no pay status, or have taken pay cuts since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) reported around 319,000 students have so far enrolled in private schools for the 2020-2021, compared to four million enrollees in 2019.

“Right now, it is projected that around two million students would transfer to public schools. So ibig sabihin no’n, kung kalahati ng estudyante ‘yung mawawala… ito ay nangangahulugan din ng pagsasara ng mga eskwelahan,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

(It means, half of the students would not enroll, indicating the schools would close.)

“‘Pag nagsara ‘yung eskwelahan, the layoff, ng mga private school teachers natin ‘yung kasunod,” he added.

(After the school’s closure, the layoff and of private school teachers would follow.)

Also read: Distance learning could increase private school tuition-DepEd

Private schools facing closure due to lack of enrollees

Basilio stressed out that parents’ lack of income due to quarantine restrictions could be behind the low number of enrollees in private schools.

Estrada appealed to the government to consider giving subsidies to private school teachers.

“Malaking bagay kung ang gobyerno ay makakapagbigay kahit isang buwan lamang na katumbas ng kanilang sahod,” Estrada said.

(It is a big help if the government could give a subsidy equivalent to one month’s salary.)

“Maaari po silang i-hire ng Department of Education para po dito sa pagbubukas ng 2020-2021 kasi experienced na ito,” Basilio added.

(The Department of Education could also hire them for the opening of the 2020-2021 because they are experienced teachers.)

The proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan II includes subsidy for private school teachers.