MANILA, Aug 23 (Mabuhay) — The number of students enrolled in primary and secondary schools exceeded the Department of Education’s target and the figure from the previous year, official data showed Tuesday.

As of Tuesday morning, 28,797,660 have registered for School Year 2022-2023, higher than the 27.5 million enrollees from the previous year, according to DepEd data.

OPENING-DAY BLUES. A teacher engages Kindergarten students in physical activities at the Bagong Silang Elementary School in Barangay 176, Caloocan City on Monday (Aug. 22, 2022). The teacher said 22 out of her expected 30 pupils attended the first day of classes.(MNS photo)

The figure also surpassed the DepEd’s target of 28.6 million enrollees for the school year.

Calabarzon had the highest number of enrollees among the regions at 3.9 million, followed by Central Luzon with 2.9 million, based on DepEd data.

The National Capital Region reported the third highest number of enrollees with 2.7 million.

DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa said schools would accept late enrollees as long as they meet 80 percent of the school days for the academic year.

“As long as mayroong matitirang 80 percent sa school days nila as per our academic calendar this year, papayagan pa rin sila mag-enroll,” Poa said in a press conference on Monday.

Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Monday declared the school opening a “victory,” even as schools faced challenges such as classroom shortages, large class sizes, the implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols, and flooding, among others.

Several areas also suspended classes on Monday and Tuesday due to bad weather as severe tropical storm Florita dumped rains in Luzon. (MNS)