Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner, J. Prospero de Vera ordered all higher education institutions to suspend the conduct of field trips and even out-of-school activities following that deadly February 20 bus accident in Tanay, Rizal. This incident had killed 15 people, mostly college students on their way to a camping trip.
According to him, the entire commission unanimously approved his suggestion to impose a suspension on all educational tours and field trips in all public and private colleges and universities effective immediately.
De Vera added, “This is being done in consideration of the safety of students and it will allow an investigating committee to look into the incident surrounding the catastrophe that happened in Tanay.”
On a report, it was said that the driver of the bus lost control of his vehicle which slammed into a concrete lamppost. The bus was full of students of Bestlink College of the Philippines in Novaliches, Quezon City.
That incident killed its driver, a school staff, and at least 13 students. Around 40 students were seriously injured in this incident.
The new order will cover succeeding field trips and educational tours of students. The out-of-school activities include immersion in communities and even public service programs such as medical missions which are part of the National Service Training Program (NSTP).
CHED had given all the colleges and universities to develop optional activities to compensate for the field trips and educational tours.
For now, the CHED moratorium on field trips does not cover student internship and on-the-job training programs.
After CHED, the Department of Education (DepEd) also decided to defer field trips in all public schools for the rest of the school year. They are giving way to a review of existing policies covering the educational tours.
The DepEd said, “The review will cover alignment of field trips to learning outcomes, security and safety responsibilities, and accountabilities not only of schools but of parents and of other relevant government agencies.”
The schools that have already completed their permits and contracts have been already secured prior the moratorium are exempted. They may push through with the scheduled field trip but should firmly follow existing guidelines, most particularly the security of everybody.
The assessment came up as a result of the consultation with the regional directors and a conference with Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Undersecretary Jesus Mateo.
DepEd issued a reminder to school officials that all educational tours and field trips should not be made mandatory to students and cannot be used as a basis for the grades of the students.
Every student’s focal purpose of joining the educational tours is only to gain knowledge and parents are keen to give their moral support by allowing them but with an incident like this, are we even confident and ensured to allow our children join another one?