MANILA, Pilippines – Higher education institutions (HEIs) can once again send students out on field trips or other off-campus activities like competitions after the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) lifted its moratorium.
CHED Commissioner Prospero de Vera made the announcement in a press conference at Malacañang on Thursday, August 10.
“So the other statement that I would like to give is that the CHED has lifted the moratorium on off-campus activities of higher education institutions,” said De Vera.
“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,” he added.
CHED had imposed a moratorium on all off-campus activities after the Tanay bus accident in February.
A bus, carrying over 50 college students from Bestlink College of the Philippines in Novaliches, Quezon City, lost its break and crashed into an electric post along Sitio Bayucan in Barangay Sampaloc, Tanay, leading to 15 deaths.
According to De Vera, CHED had closely worked with the Department of Tourism, Department of Interior and Local Government, Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation and Regulatory Board and the leagues of cities and municipalities to craft the new guidelines covering all off-campus activities.
CHED Memorandum Order Number 63, series of 2017 now has stricter provisions to help ensure the safety of students.
“So now we’re requiring higher education institutions to make sure and be accountable that when they send their students outside the university, there are faculty or persons in charge that will monitor what the students are doing,” said De Vera.
A student must also have his or her parents’ consent and must be medically cleared before going on an off-campus activity.
“We will require them to have insurance for students, check the registration, insurance, franchise, and road-worthiness of vehicles used in the transportation of students, coordinate with local government units, because there have been incidents in the past, like in Bulacan State University, where students went on a field trip and the students drowned,” he added.
De Vera was referring to the drowning of 7 students from the Bulacan State University (BSU) in August 2014. About 180 BSU students were on a field trip to Madlum Cave in San Miguel, Bulacan when heavy rains swelled the Madlum River, triggering a flash flood.
The Office of the Ombudsman already ordered the dismissal of 9 BSU officials over the tragedy. – with reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com