Just under 1 million children are now enrolled in the New York City public schools. This year's influx of 43,000 students furthers an upward trend.

If the rate of immigration continues, as expected, school officials predict that by 1996 the New York public schools will exceed the previous peak enrollment of 1.1 million, which occurred in 1971.

The largest percentage of immigrants is from Caribbean countries. About two-thirds of the 120,000 immigrant children who have enrolled during the past three years are from 11 countries:

* Dominican Republic: 23,000

* Jamaica: 10,000

* Russia: 8,000

* Guyana and China: 7,000 each

* Haiti: 6,000

* Trinidad: 4,800

* Mexico: 4,200

* Ecuador: 3,800

* Colombia: 3,700

* Korea: 3,600

Overall, about 100,000 of the students are foreign-born, says Emanuel Tobier, a New York University professor of economics and planning. Many others are the children of immigrants and often speak their native language at home.

Although budgets are tight, bilingual teachers and English-as-a-Second-Language teachers are in demand. About 5,200 such teachers are now employed by the school system.

New York City spends more than $130 million a year on immigrant language programs.

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