Lawmaker urges strict regulation on educational tour feesBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has called on the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to ensure that college and graduate students will no longer be charged exorbitant fees for field trips, following the issuance of its memorandum order setting policies and guidelines for educational tours.
Kabataan Party-list Representative Raymond Palatino said that he hoped the CHED Memorandum Order 17 (CMO 17) series of 2012 which was issued on July 6 would address complaints on expensive fees for educational tours. He said that the memorandum provided rules and guidelines on carrying out field trips, from selecting a destination to the charging of fees.
Palatino has earlier filed House Resolution 832 which sought an inquiry into the “rampant imposition of unjust, redundant, arbitrary, and exorbitant miscellaneous fees in schools nationwide.”
The House committee on higher and technical education has since looked into the issue, with its members grilling officials particularly over expensive field trips abroad for college students.
With the CMO 17, schools were told to ensure that “as much as practicable, destination of educational tours and/or field trips should be near the concerned higher education institution (HEI) in order to minimize cost.” The memorandum also requires consultation with students when planning for field trips which may need additional cost and also compels HEIs to provide “parallel school activities” to students who cannot join the field trips.
“This means that HEIs can no longer impose mandatory field trips,” said Palatino.
CMO 17 requires the schools to submit information on the nature of educational tours and field trips set at least a month before the opening of the academic year. It also barred profiteering by educators through field trips, stating in one of its provisions that “It shall be unlawful for an HEI employee to personally profit from an educational tour/field trip.”
“Enforcement of this provision will allow CHED to ensure that field trips and educational tours are indeed being held for the facilitation of knowledge and learning among students, and is not made into a profiteering scheme for schools, teachers, and employees,” Palatino said.