Youth group welcomes CHED’s new policy regulating field trips, educational tours
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino welcomed the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) institution of new policies on educational tours and field trips, which ensure that exorbitant fees and profiteering from out-of-school trips are checked and prevented.
This new policy is the result of consultations with CHED and administrators of state universities and colleges in past hearings of the Congressional Committee on Higher and Technical Education.
The youth solon filed on January 9, 2011 House Resolution No. 832, which directed Congress to conduct an inquiry on the rampant imposition of unjust, redundant, arbitrary, and exorbitant miscellaneous fees in schools nationwide. Since 2011, Congress has already conducted several hearings to study and review the said miscellaneous fees.
“Fees for field trips and educational tours are included in the list of unregulated and exorbitant miscellaneous fees that we tackled in Congress. The issuance of CHED’s new memorandum is a welcome development that would hopefully address this issue,” Palatino said.
Issued on July 6, CHED Memorandum Order 17 series of 2012 (CMO 17) titled “Policies and Guidelines on Educational Tours and Field Trips of College and Graduate Students” laid out specific rules on out-of-school trips, from selection of destination to the charging of fees.
CMO 17 defines educational tours as “extended educational activities involving the travel of students and supervising faculty outside the school campus,” usually lasting for more than a day. Field trips, meanwhile, are out-of-school activities usually lasting for only a day or less.
Pertinent provisions of CMO 17 include specific guidelines on the selection of destinations. “As much as practicable, destination of educational tours and/or field trips should be near the concerned higher education institution (HEI) in order to minimize cost,” according to the memorandum.
“This is a welcome development, as we have reports of schools requiring students to travel to far-off places, and consequently charging skyrocketing mandatory fees,” Palatino said.
Also, CMO 17 requires HEIs to conduct prior consultation with students when field trips and tours require additional cost. Meanwhile, the memorandum also compels HEIs to give “parallel school activities which provide similar acquisition of knowledge” for students who cannot join educational tours or field trips.
“This means that HEIs can no longer impose mandatory field trips, and it is the school administration’s duty to provide alternative activities for those who cannot attend,” Palatino said.
Another important provision in CMO 17 states, “It shall be unlawful for an HEI employee to personally profit from an educational tour/field trip.”
“Enforcement of this provision will allow CHED to ensure that field trips and educational tours are indeed being held for the facilitation of knowledge and learning among students, and is not made into a profiteering scheme for schools, teachers, and employees,” Palatino said.
Under the new memorandum, CHED requires HEIs to submit information on the nature of educational tours and field trips set at least a month before the opening of the academic year.
HEIs found guilty of violating CMO 17 will be subjected to varying sanctions, ranging from a written warning to the disapproval of application for new fees, revocation of permits, and filing of criminal charges.
“CHED’s enactment of new guidelines for field trips is a step towards our fight against the rampant imposition of unjust exorbitant miscellaneous fees. However, students should be vigilant on the implementation of the said memorandum,” Palatino said.
Meanwhile, Palatino said that the congressional review on other types of exorbitant miscellaneous fees would continue. “There are many other exorbitant fees that add to the burden of students. We will not rest until all of these fees are reviewed, regulated and to the maximum, scrapped altogether.
“Students will continue the call for accessible and affordable education. With our collective effort, we will succeed in our fight to revert the commercialized nature of education in our country,” Palatino ended.###