Educational field trips are not mandatory, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).
The Deped announced this in the aftermath of the fatal bus accident that claimed the lives of 14 college students, a teacher, and the driver following a field trip in Tanay, Rizal.
The DepEd has reminded parents, school officials and personnel that while educational field trips are meant to supplement classroom learning, joining such is not mandatory.
Moreover, the DepEd is calling on all schools to verify the proper registration and road-worthiness of the buses or vehicles to be used, and ensure that the drivers have the appropriate know-how and frame of mind when on the road.
DepEd Order (DO) No. 52, series of 2003, addressed to heads and principals of public and private elementary and secondary schools, iterated that no punitive measures or activities related to the trip, which will put students who could not join the trip at a disadvantage, shall be imposed. Teachers must refrain from conducting tests based on these field trips, but students shall be given activities in school as substitute for not joining the trip.
Furthermore, the same Department Order mandated that “no field trip should be undertaken without the written consent of the parents of the student’s guardian(s).” These educational tours must be well-planned ahead of time with the students and safety measures should be discussed before the trip.
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.
In view of the financial difficulties of Filipino families and the monetary costs of the trip, the Department issued DepEd Memorandum No. 529, series of 2009, to reinforce and direct strict compliance to existing policies against putting additional financial burden on the student’s parents.