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Alarm Raised Over Missing Students: How Many Elementary and Secondary Students Does the Philippines Have? Is DepEd Overcounting their 25.9 M Registered Students? Are there still 3 M Missing Students?
Using registered births, an estimated annual pediatric deaths (from 2015 to 2019 data), and 13 years of formal education, I arrive at about 22 million school age children. Where are DepEd's children?
Following this headline which I used in my substack post this morning, I was curious to determine just how many students (grade and high school) the Philippines might have.
Summary of Education in the Philippines
To start: a brief summary of education in the Philippines from the Department of Education.
The Philippines follows a K to 12 program, with 13 years of formal education offered to students comprising: Kindergarten to Grade 3 (4 years), Grades 4 to 6 (3 years), Grades 7 to 10 (Junior High School) (4 years), and Grades 11 and 12 (Senior High School). Formal elementary schooling starts at age 5.
While Philippines does have some small number of expatriate / foreign students, most students are Filipino, born in the Philippines. So I go to the PSA vital statistics birth data. Children aged 5 this year were likely born in 2018. If I count back 13 years, this 2023-2024 school year’s graduating students will have been born in 2006.
Registered Live Births
I then determine how many children were born in the relevant period: the total registered live births between 2006 and 2018 number 22,618,092 children. Annual births peaked in 2012 and have been dropping since.
Year of Birth Registered Live Births
2012 1,790,367 (peak birth year)
Total Births 22,618,092 (registered live births from PSA)
Registered Pediatric Deaths
I then determined how many children might have died during their childhood and are no longer be present to partake in education. Based on averaged 2015 to 2019 data (excluding 2020 and 2021 which are highly abnormal years), some 47,000 children aged between 0 - 19 die each year. For simplicity, I have assumed this figure might be relatively stable over time and used it directly, multiplied x 13 to give an assumed total pediatric population loss.
The premature deaths would have reduced the total school age population by some 611,000 over 13 years, leaving about 22 million potential students. This does not account for children who never start formal education, any early drop outs who don’t complete the K-12 Program, or students who stay in the program for longer than 13 years: likely the final numbers will be below 22 million.
Student Population Appears to be Lower than DepED Estimates
My rough estimate of 22 million potential students is 3.9 million fewer than the 25.9M DepEd has announced are registered for school, and 6.8 million fewer than the 28.8M DepEd has announced they were expecting to be enrolled!
Could there be 6.8 million children whose births have never been registered in the Philippines? 3.9 million of whom were able to register for school without any birth certificate (a standard requirement for school enrollment)?
Perhaps Congress could start by asking “Where are the children”?
How accurate is the PSA population data? How many children are there? How many students are there? Is DepEd being funded for children who don’t exist? I certainly hope some astute reader can pick holes in my discussion / argument, that there indeed seems to be far fewer Filipino children than DepEd has claimed students! I hope that appropriate authorities may look further at this issue.
Premature Deaths of Children During Pandemic Years Starting from 2021
The topic of how many students the Philippines has is also relevant to the discussion on whether there have been any excess deaths of student age children who might have died prematurely or become disabled during the pandemics years following Covid-19 infection or vaccination, or in relation to some other pandemic-related adverse outcome! These excess deaths ultimately will impact the school population.
There were no excess pediatric deaths in 2020! None! There are very concerning patterns of pediatric deaths in 2021. There is still no by-age breakdown of 2022 deaths available. There is still NO 2023 vital statistics released.
The pandemic outcomes for children need to be specifically examined. There is great concern that the excess pediatric deaths seen in the UK may be seen in other nations, including the Philippines.
While the last two figures on Philippines pediatric deaths above (recopied below), show the big drop in pediatric deaths in 2020, there are 1,632 additional deaths amongst children aged 10 and above between 2019 (the last typical year) and 2021. Covid-19 injection of children aged 12 - 17 commenced on 15 October 2021. They were typically given the Pfizer product, though some were given the Coronavac. Is there any link between the rollout and the rise in deaths? That needs to be determined!
I end with Lamenations 2:11, 2:12:
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