THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday reminded parents and school officials that while educational field trips are meant to supplement classroom learning, students should not be forced to join such outings.
The DepEd issued the statement following the bus accident in Tanay, Rizal province that killed more than a dozen students.
The students from Bestlink College of the Philippines in Novaliches, Quezon City were on their way to an educational tour as part of their National Service Training Program in a resort in Tanay when the bus they were riding lost control and rammed into an electric post.
The Education department also called on all schools to verify the proper registration and road-worthiness of the buses or vehicles to be used in field trips, and ensure that the drivers have the appropriate know-how and frame of mind when on the road.
In an order addressed to heads and principals of public and private elementary and secondary schools, the DepEd said students who cannot join field trips should not be punished by putting them at a disadvantage academically. Teachers should refrain from conducting tests based on these field trips, and students should be given activities in school as substitute for not joining the trip.
Furthermore, “no field trip should be undertaken without the written consent of the parents of the student’s guardian(s),” the department said.
“These educational tours must be well-planned ahead of time with the students and safety measures should be discussed before the trip,” it added.
Places to visit must be educational, such as cultural and historical sites, or science exhibits in museums. Trips to malls and attendance at noon-time TV shows are discouraged.
The Commission on Higher Education on Tuesday imposed a moratorium on field trips and educational tours in all private and public colleges and universities.
The commission however clarified that the moratorium does not cover Student Internship Programs, practicum/on-the-job-training both local and abroad.
Meanwhile, the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) vowed to facilitate the release of the insurance of those who died or were injured in the Tanay accident.
Aileen Lizada, LTFRB board member and spokesperson, said the SCCI Management and Insurance Agency Corp., the insurance company of Panda Tours and Travel, owner of the bus hired by Bestlink College, agreed to pay insurance to the families of the victims.
Lizada said the SCCI will release an initial P50,000. The balance of P150,000 will be given once the families of the victims completed the requirements such as the police report about the accident, death certificate, and proof of beneficiaries.
She urged families of the victims to go to the LTFRB office in Quezon City.
Neil A. Alcober and Nelson S. Badilla