THE Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) has lifted the ban on educational tours and field trips but imposed tighter regulations on these activities.
In a news conference in Malacanang on Thursday, CHEd Commissioner Prospero de Vera confirmed that Chairman Patricia Licuanan signed Memorandum Order 63 on July 25, which provides for a new set of policies and guidelines in the conduct of off-campus activities “in order to develop holistic experience of students.”
“The CHEd has lifted the moratorium on off-campus activities of higher education institutions. If you remember, in February, there was the Tanay tragedy that claimed the lives of about 15 students and injured 40 others from
Bestlink College of the Philippines. And the commission issued a moratorium on all field trips starting in February,” de Vera told reporters.
In lifting of the ban, de Vera said the commission “tightened” regulations to ensure the safety of the students in the tertiary level during field trips and other off-campus activities.
He added that the commission also issued guidelines covering the conduct of “all off-campus activities.”
“So we’ve expanded the coverage of the circular of the commission not only for field trips but all other activities that involve students when they leave their schools. And this includes not just field trips but students who go on competitions outside their school, when they attend conferences and symposia, when they do immersion programs, when they go on sports activities,” de Vera said.
Under the new guidelines, he added, higher education institutions (HEIs) are mandated to ensure that there are designated faculty members or persons that will monitor the students’ activities outside the university.
The CHEd also required the institutions to have insurance for students, and check the registration, insurance, franchise and road worthiness of the vehicles used in the transportation of the students, de Vera said.
He added that the commission also required the HEIs to coordinate with local government units to avoid accidents.
DeVera said the commission also asked the HEIs to require written consent of students’ parents and medical clearance for students who go on field trips and other out-of-school activities.
For students who cannot attend off-campus activities, he added, the HEIs must provide alternative activities for them.
“So all activities that will require students to go out of their school, we have tightened the regulations,” de Vera said. “By this, we want to make sure that the student’s safety is protected.”
Last February, CHEd issued a moratorium on educational field trips after the fatal bus accident in Tanay, Rizal, where 14 students were killed and left dozens injured.