In a series of online surveys conducted in August and November 2020, DACS-CEAP XI established the extent of the effects of the pandemic to Catholic schools in the Davao Region for SY 2020-2021. All seventy-one (71) member institutions participated in the surveys.
The first survey piloted on August 12-20, 2020 yielded a result of 27% average enrollment decrease for the four (4) diocesan clusters of schools including the Archdiocese of Davao with a 32% decrease; Diocese of Digos with a 24% decrease; Diocese of Tagum with 16% decrease and Diocese of Mati with 13% decrease. Data from SY 2019-2020 showed a combined enrollment of more than 120,000 students among Catholic schools in Region XI.
The subsequent survey was conducted in November 2020 but this time to determine enrollment data per grade level or department. Results show that the Technical-Vocational Department sustained the steepest decrease at 33% followed by Kindergarten at 29% decrease, then the Junior High School at 13%, the college department at 11%, the graduate school at 6%, and the senior high school at less than 1%. Only the post-graduate school level showed an increase in enrollment at 2%. There is more than 92,000 combined enrollment in all levels for DACS-CEAP XI schools for SY 2020-2021.
Statistics from the Department of Education state that private schools nationally suffered more than fifty-percent (50%) decrease in enrollment. Many of these private school students have transferred to the public school system. At the onset of the national lockdown owing to the spread of COVID 19 in March 2020, many school administrators expressed grave apprehension about their enrollment prospects for SY 2020-2021 as the national government imposed a shift to modular or online modes of instruction in all grade levels as well as in higher education. Most private school institutions were found unprepared for the sudden change in educational processes citing the dismal lack of internet signal and infrastructure in most parts of the country, especially outside the urban centers. Compounding the problem was the lack of training of teachers, sufficient and appropriate materials for online-modular or blended learning delivery. However, no catholic school in Davao Region was reported to close permanently due to the effects of the pandemic.