DepEd panel tasked to review guidelines may extend field trip ban beyond June
The Department of Education (DepEd) has floated the possibility of extending the moratorium on field trips in public elementary and high schools beyond June, saying officials were trying to come up with exhaustive guidelines to ensure students’ safety.
Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said the technical working group (TWG) tasked to review all policies covering educational trips was still in the middle of discussions since it was facing a lot of options on possible changes to be introduced.
Mateo added that the group, which he chairs, would also have to wait for the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), which first issued the moratorium covering all higher education institutions in February after a bus accident killed 15 people, mostly college students, on their way to a camping trip in Tanay, Rizal.
“Our guidelines should be congruent with what the CHEd will come up with,” he told reporters in an interview.
Mateo also said that the DepEd’s TWG was particularly looking at enhancing existing policies on school excursions by learning areas, which will mean providing distinct provisions for Kinder to Grade 3, Grades 4 to 6, junior high school and senior high school.
“What has come out in our initial discussions so far is, ‘Why don’t we look at the learning areas?’” Mateo told reporters in an interview.
But taking this approach would entail some time and would probably go beyond their self-imposed June deadline, he pointed out.
“We will try to make it by June but it’s complicated. If we follow this paradigm, everything else like the distance, the type of areas or venues that students [per category] can visit, will be affected,” said Mateo, noting that existing DepEd guidelines on field trips already have safety nets.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones created the TWG in an April 7 memorandum to amend the agency’s guidelines on field trips to ensure the security and safety of students. It was asked to submit its recommendations before the start of the school year.
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