MANILA — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) is imposing a moratorium on field trips and educational tours in all higher education institutions (HEIs) to give way to an investigation on the bus crash that killed 15 people in Tanay, Rizal, and a review of policies on such trips.
The commission en banc on Tuesday arrived at the decision following a proposal by Commissioner Prospero de Vera III to disallow field trips in private and public colleges and universities until the completion of an investigation into the tragedy.
Fifteen were killed in the crash, including college students, the bus driver and a teacher.
In pushing for a moratorium, De Vera also noted the need to rethink guidelines and policies covering educational tours and field trips and to check whether prevailing policies provide adequate protection to students.
Under CHEd Memorandum No. 17, s. 2012, HEIs are required to report to the respective CHEd regional office on the nature of the education tour or field trips, including the purpose, schedule, destinations and cost at least a month before the opening of classes for every academic year.
The memo also stipulates that the destination of educational tours or field trips, as much as practicable, should be near the concerned school to minimize cost.
For the safety and convenience of students and school personnel, there must be advanced and proper coordination with the local government unit, and appropriate clearance from the concerned government and nongovernment offices must be secured prior to the scheduled dates of the field trip.
The memorandum also states that HEIs that do not comply with the guidelines and regulations on educational tours and field trips will be sanctioned depending on the nature and seriousness of the violations.
In a statement on Tuesday, De Vera said the commission must determine if public and private colleges and universities have been complying with safety requirements.
“The Tanay tragedy is a reminder that we must be very strict in regulating the use of public transportation for school-sponsored trips,” he said.
He added, “While it is true that field trips are essential to give students the opportunity to see and explore new things, enhance their learning experience in a natural setting and provide for interest-driven and hands-on training, the safety of the students on field trips must be ensured at all times by school authorities.”