Recollections of Mandated Laws for Educational Institutions’ Tours and Field Trips (PART 1)

Recollections of Mandated Laws for Educational Institutions’ Tours and Field Trips (PART 1)

January 31, 2015

Educational tours and field trips define extensions of classroomlearning amongstudents. These are additional methods of instructions thatbenefitthemmore than the educators responsible for planning and initiating the said activities not to mention the complexities in making educational –related transactions. Before the conduct ofthese instructional processes, it is perceived that students andeducators should besafeguarded from any untoward incidents and liabilities, respectively.The previous tragic events that have been streaming as breaking newsin the public are reflections among educators who initiate outdoor activities to fully understand the laws that govern educational tours and field trips. Furthermore,both students and teachers shouldcomprehend the distinctions between educational tours and field trips based from the mandates implemented by educational authorities.The Department of Education (DepEd) has (3) threegoverning laws that apply to elementary and secondary students’ extended activities particularly on educational tours or field trips: Department order No. 52 series of 2003, Department Order No. 51 series of 2002 and Department Order No. 56 series of 2001.

According to Department order No. 52 series of 2003, schools should secure the written consent of students’ parents and guardians; no punitive measures should be imposed upon those who opt not to join the field trip; the field trip should be well planned ahead of time and that safety measures should have been well deliberated; the tour should be set in natural and historical sites where educational insights shall take place like science exhibits and museums; trips to malls and noon-time TV shows are discouraged; trips if possible should be sponsored to augment financial burdens from parents. This department ordertoo emphasizesthat the existingprovisions from Department Order No. 51 series of 2002 and Department Order No. 56 series of 2001 are still effective.

One particular point to cite is the consentof students’ parents and guardians. Parents and guardians should be aware that there is no any responsibility of the school upon their approval that’s why there is a need to weigh and consider how safe the children or wards are in their areas of destinations; both parents and guardians’ discretion should be cautiously exercised for the welfare of the students.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) memorandum order No. 17, series of 2012 emerged after series of disasters related with College field trips and educational tour incidentsperceives the well-being of students involved and covers the policies and guidelines on Educational tours and field trips of college and graduate students.

Section 4 of this CHED memorandum Order (CMO) defines clearly the distinction between a field trip and an educational tour. “Educational tour is an extended educational activity involving the travel of students and supervising faculty outside the school campus which is relatively of longer duration usually lasting for more than one day and relatively more places of destination than a field trip.” The Field trip on the other hand, “is an educational activity involving the travel of students and supervising faculty outside the school campus but is of relatively shorter duration usually lasting for only one day and with fewer places of destination.”
Section 5 specifies the objectives of this CMO instructing that “these set of policies and guidelines aims to rationalize the Conduct of Educational Tours and /or Field Trips among Higher Education Institutions(HEIs) in order to as provided by Section 5.1.”which explains to “provide access to efficient and interactive learning of students through meaningful educational tours and/or field trips as required in their program requirement embodied in the approved curriculum;” and further continued by provision 5.2 of this section which orders “to ensure that all Higher Education institutions provide quality educational tours and/or field trips relevant to the acquisition of the necessary knowledge ,skills, and values for student welfare and development.”

Under Article V on students, section 8,itclarifies that”students who cannot join the educational tours and/ or field trips shall be given parallel school activity which provides similar acquisition ofknowledge of the required practical competencies and achieves other learning objectives. Learners withspecial needs such as Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) shall begiven due consideration.” This article is further exemplified by Section 9 which commands that “students undergoing internship, practicum or on-the-job training program, the same shall be governed by CHED Memorandum Order No.23 series of 2009 on “Guidelines for Student Internship Program in the Philippines(SIPP) for all programs with practicum subject. Educationaltours and field trips shall not be made as substitute of a major examination for the purpose of compelling students to participate in educational activities not otherwise compulsory.”

Section 12 of Article VI on destination emphasizes that ‘ “whenever necessary for the safety and convenience of the touring party, advance and proper coordination with the local government units with appropriate clearance from the concerned government and non-government offices shall be secured before the scheduled dates of the educational tours and/or field trips.”

Article VII on roles of the Higher Educationspecifies security as a main responsibility. Section 18 reveals the “security of the students should be the foremost responsibility of the higher education institutions concerned.HEI authorities shall inform parents or guardians on the HEI guidelines on the conduct of educational tours and/or field trips.” It further warns through its section 18 that “it shall be unlawful of an HEI employee to personally profit from educational tours and /or field trips. An employee who violates this section may be terminated for Grave Misconduct.”

Section 23, under Article IX on sanctions makes it clear that,” in order to ensure compliance with the guidelines and regulations stated in this CMO, Commission en Banc may, upon the recommendation of the Regional Offices and CHED legal services,impose the following sanctions depending on the nature and seriousness of the violation or non-compliance of Higher Education Institutions. Any HEI found guilty of violating any of the provisions contained in these guidelines may be subjected to the following sanctions: 1st offense ,a written warning;2nd offence is a suspension from conducting educational tours and field trips for a period of time as determined by the Commission en Banc, and the third offense results to the disapproval of the application for other school fees and introduction of fees of HEI; administrative and criminal charges against it/and /or its responsible officers under existing laws and the imposition of penalties such as revocation of permits, downgrading of status, phase-out and such other penalties may be validly imposed by the Commission to concerned HEIs.”

To simplify based from CHED’sCMO No.17 of its policies and guidelines on educational tours and field trips of college and graduate students, the CHED has carefully considered specific rudiments under three essential stages : before, during and after the educational tour or field trips.

Before the field educational tour/visit or field trip, the following standards has to be embedded: that the purpose of the educational activity should be linked with the college’s curriculum, that the educational activity should have been earlier included in College Handbook which were reiterated earlier to freshmen’s General Orientation, that it has to specify the faculty in charge’s designation and roles before, during and after the activity; that it has been appropriately coordinated in advanced with local government units and concerned private offices, that a consultation has been conducted to participating students, faculty and sponsors with documented minutes of meetings and attendees’signatures, that the destination chosen be specified including the cost and benefit requirements, safety and its importance to the subject matter; that the funds and other resources are properly secured and accounted for; that a briefing must be conducted to concerned faculty and students for the purpose of providing the needed information materials;that if applicable, there should be a written plans by the accredited travel agency with the attached Gan Chart duly –approved by the Higher Education Institution; a copy of the itinerary and travel agency’s or tour operator’s accreditation certificate issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT),that individual or group insurance for the students,faculty and other concerned participants must be provided standard format of learning journals must be given to students for documenting their educational activities, that the educational tour or field trip should be reminded to parents one (1) month to two (2) months before the slated date, that a risk assessment plans and preventive measures be provided to students and stakeholders, that waivers / medical clearances of students authentically signed by parents or physician and medical aid kits for the participants are prepared prior to the activity, that the parent/ guardian consent are duly notarized to be submitted prior to the educational tour or trip.

During the educational trip or field trip, it is presumed that parents and guardians of participating students were properly informed of the HEI guidelines about how the tour/trip is conducted; that the program of activities are followed as planned or activities may be adjusted as the need arises, that the letter of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that states the coordination which involved Local Government Units (LGUs) and Non-government organizations (NGOs) be at hand.

At the end of the field trip or educational tour, reflections of the learning experiences which are duly documented in the participants’ learning journals are deliberated as the main purpose of the activity; that an assessment report be prepared by the faculty in charge which include the detailed summary of amount used during the educational activity to be submitted to CHED through a filled-in undertaking form and an assessment report to be submitted by students to concerned HEI.

With thesedetailed guidelinesimposed by the CHED, these show clear illustrations on how the interests and safety of participants and organizers are catered and achieved. marvinwacnaglidawan@gmail.com