Public schools told to cancel field trip plans until June
MANILA — Taking a leaf from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Department of Education (DepEd) has also decided to temporarily halt field trips in all public schools for the rest of the school year to allow for a review of existing policies covering educational excursions and tours.
The moratorium, which will last for three to four months or until June 2017, will also give DepEd officials time to harmonize implementing details of the regions’ policies and guidelines on field trips, according to the department in a statement issued late Wednesday night.
Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said the decision was reached in consultation with regional directors in a meeting with Education Secretary Leonor Briones following Monday’s bus accident that killed 15 people, mostly college students on their way to a camping trip in Tanay, Rizal.
“The review will cover alignment of field trips to learning outcomes, security and safety and responsibilities and accountabilities not only of schools but of parents and of other relevant government agencies,” stated the DepEd.
Exempted from the moratorium are schools that have already secured permits and where contracts have already been completed prior to the moratorium. The agency stressed that these schools may push through with the scheduled field trips but existing guidelines, especially on safety, should be strictly followed.
On Wednesday, the DepEd issued a reminder to school officials that educational tours and field trips should not be made mandatory for students. It also called on schools to check the registration and roadworthiness of vehicles that would be used for such tours.
DepEd Order No. 52 issued in 2003 prohibits schools from imposing punitive measures or activities related to the field trip on students who fail to join them. It also urges teachers to refrain from giving tests based on these tours but they can give other types of assignments, school-based activities and homework to students who decide not to join the trips.
It also outlined the places to be visited such as cultural and historical sites or science exhibits in museums. It strongly discouraged trips to malls and viewing of noontime TV shows.
A day after the accident, the CHED imposed a moratorium on field trips in all colleges and universities to give way to an investigation into the Tanay, Rizal bus accident and a review of its own policies on field trips and educational tours.
But the commission has clarified that the moratorium does not cover student internship programs, practical and on-the-job trainings in the country or abroad. “These activities are governed by a separate CHED order which the higher education institutions are aware of,” it said. SFM/rga
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