The COVID-19 pandemic has forced at least 10 private Catholic educational institutions to temporarily close this school year due to a sharp decline in enrollment, an educational association said Tuesday.
Earlier this week, 107-year-old College of the Holy Spirit of Manila said it would completely halt operations after academic year 2021-2022, citing challenges in implementing distance learning and low enrollment rates as reasons.
According to the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, parents and students were also heavily affected by the pandemic's financial blows.
"Malaking kinalaman ang pandemic sa kawalan ng enrollees ng maraming paaralan. Maraming parents kasi ang walang hanapbuhay, walang pambayad ng tuition," CEAP executive director Jose Allan Arellano told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(The pandemic contributed greatly to the low number of enrollees in many schools. Many parents don't have livelihoods, they can't pay for tuition.)
The CEAP, which has 1,484 schools in its roster, is coordinating with the government to support private schools with better assistance policies to prevent more permanent closures, Arellano added.
Thought most Catholic schools are "stable," Arellano said smaller schools with 100 to 200 students are struggling during the pandemic.
Faculty and staff from temporarily closed institutions were transferred to nearby schools within the same school system or diocese, he said. Students were advised to transfer to other Catholic schools.
"Maaari silang lumipat sa ibang paaralan, lalo't wala namang problema sa pag-alis nila dun sa nagsarang paaaralan," he said.
(They may transfer to other schools, especially if they encountered no problems in leaving the closed school.)