Enrollment in Puerto Princesa City this school year saw a drop of 18 percent compared to last year while that of the municipalities dropped by 11 percent, records of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) division offices in Palawan indicated.

As of July 15, the number of enrollees in the Schools Division of Puerto Princesa stood at 52,784 compared to last year’s record of 64,075 enrollees. In the provincial division, enrollment stood at 225,762 which was a slight drop from 251,678 last year.

Gina Francisco, information officer of the Schools Division of Puerto Princesa, attributed the decline to the hesitation of the parents to enroll their children due to the present threat of COVID-19.

“Siguro may mga magulang na hesitant na paaralin ang mga anak nila dahil sa COVID-19, ‘yong iba baka lumipat na rin ng ibang residence ‘yon ang iniisip namin. Sa ngayon hinahanap talaga natin ‘yong remaining na hindi pa nakakapag-enroll,” she said.

Meanwhile, Grace Estefano, information officer of the Schools Division of Palawan said the department is doing its best to provide education under the present new normal conditions.

“Nasa period tayo ng adjustment sa new normal. The decision of whether to enroll the children or not is in the hands of the parents. As far as the DepEd is concerned, we are doing our best for the learning continuity of our learners with the support of the local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders.

The DepEd, in an official statement Friday, stated that they will be accepting late enrollees in accordance with a DepEd order.

“Ganoon pa man, muling ipinapabatid ng Kagawaran na tinatanggap natin ang late enrollees. Alinsunod sa Sec V.D ng DepEd Order No. 003, s. 2018, “A school may accept late enrollees provided that the learner will be able to meet eighty percent (80%) of the prescribed number of school days for each school year and the quarterly requirement to pass the grade level as governed by the latest existing applicable DepEd issuances,” It stated.

The city DepEd said anticipates their enrollment numbers to increase after data is submitted by the private schools.