STI Education Services Group (STI-ESG) has announced that 12 of their 76 schools will be suspending operations this year due to low enrollment, Esquire Philippines reports.
Here are the following company and franchise-owned branches that will close this year:
- STI Cebu
- STI Iloilo
- STI Quezon Ave.
- STI Tuguegarao
- STI Pagadian
- STI College Bohol
- STI College Recto
- Sungold Technologies
- STI College Pasay
- STI College Dipolog
- STI College San Francisco
- STI College Parañaque Inc.
According to the report, affected students will be given the chance to transfer to a different STI campus.
The new school year has begun for most universities in the country, with K12 following suit on October 5 after DepEd announced the postponement to give schools and LGUs more time to prepare for education's new normal. On September 9, DepEd reported that 748 private schools have suspended operations for the upcoming school year. (via CNN Philippines) Apart from low enrollment rates, schools are also collecting funds to maintain facilities, and provide gadgets for students in need, teachers, and staff.
In an interview with Candy, STI College Dasmarinas Deputy Administrator Chuck Lapitan spoke about the struggles they've encountered amid the pandemic, and how they're surviving to cope in the new normal:
Low enrollment rates
"We really felt the impact of the pandemic sa enrollment namin. Almost buong enrollment season namin bagsak to less than a fourth of our usual population."
According to Lapitan, the moment the enhanced community quarantine was lifted, he and his team had to grind "just to get back on our feet." As more parents began opting to enroll their children in public schools, Lapitan admits to getting worried as other private schools around Cavite have started announcing suspensions for the school year. Admittedly, this affected the team's morale, but they continued to find new and creative ways to encourage people to enroll again.
As promotions went on, the school did their best to sustain operations despite the low enrollment rate. Lapitan even says that eariler in quarantine, the staff divided stock left in the canteen to help lessen personal expenses and to avoid spoiling food since physical classes were suspended. Lapitan admits it was a tiring uphill battle, but they were able to pull through after months of hard work, a bit of luck, and everything in between.
"We just kept going and luckily last minute, nagbalikan mga old students namin and still got a number of new students. Our prayers were somehow answered."
At the time of the interview, Lapitan shares they were able to get a sustainable number of students. "We live to fight another day," he says. "Pa-saludo na lang sa lahat ng faculty, staff and school officials dahil double work at effort naming lahat right now because of the pandemic and implementation of online learning."
On transitioning to an online class setup
According to Lapitan, the transition was easier for them due to their pre-existing E-Learning Management System (ELMS). They've also been offering online courses for a while now wherein they send students their lessons asynchronously and have scheduled synchronous lessons with a conductor or professor online.
"They can download their lessons or get a printed copy of the lessons from the school (which they can pick up or can be delivered to them) so that they can still study their lessons kahit walang connection or mahina yung signal."
He says some students are even able to work or have online businesses while taking classes. "Nasa diskarte na ng student yun."
As the school year goes on, reaching their minimum headcount was only the beginning of their journey in the new normal. "Now with the pandemic, our greatest challenge is the performance of our internet service providers and the availability of internet of our students.
"What our higher ups from the main campus did was to partner with Smart and Globe to give sim cards to all new enrollees this year to help them access their lessons and other activities online."
*The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity
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