Should college field trips be banned after Tanay bus accident?

MANILA, Philippines - Following the tragic Tanay bus accident that took the lives of at least 15 students from Bestlink Colleges in Novaliches, Quezon City, the Commission on Higher Education announced that it will issue a moratorium on educational tours and field trips.

Should college field trips be banned after Tanay bus accident?

The said suspension will cover all educational tours and field trips in all colleges and universities while a probe on the bus crash is ongoing.

In a press statement, Commissioner Prospero de Vera said he will request CHED to immediately issue a directive to all higher education institutions so they can properly probe the tragedy and look into current policies covering field trips.

“The Tanay tragedy is a reminder that we must be very strict in regulating the use of public transportation for school-sponsored trips. We must also determine if higher education institutions comply with requirements of safety and whether current policies adequately protect students,” de Vera added.

Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo also called on CHED to put a moratorium on school field trips pending the establishment of their importance to the student’s study and the assurance of their insurance and safety.

Students not forced to join tour

Despite parents’ claims that their children were forced to join the field trip in order to pass the National Service Training Program (NSTP), the administration of Bestlink College of the Philippines (BCP) claimed that students were not forced to join tour.

Survivors, families of victims of Tanay bus accident share harrowing experience

“We have a letter to the parents kung gusto nila sumama. If not, up to them. Walang forced na nangyari,” BCP vice president for Academics Dr. Charlie Cariño told GMA News.

Why ban field trips?

Meanwhile, motoring multimedia journalist James Deakin questioned CHED’s move to ban field trips. According to Deakin, the government should instead use the tragedy to put emphasis on road safety than ban field trips.

“So instead of using this bus tragedy that claimed the lives of innocent students as an opportunity to highlight road safety by improving on our woeful licensing standards and vehicle roadworthiness, there's now a proposal to ban field trips,” Deakin wrote on his Facebook page.

Many netizens agreed with Deakin saying that road safety in the country, not field trips, is the problem.

Kit Rodriguez commented: “Why not ban/phaseout old dilapidated unreliable for hire/public utility vehicles?”

“Field trips are essentially part of the learning process. You cannot confine education within the 4 walls of a classroom. But they should also vet the tour operators to ensure the children’s safety. Kailangan ayusin ng LTO at LTRFB at ng DOTr ang mga trabaho nila para maiwasan yung mga ganyan,” a certain Iyen Magallanes said.

Max Casapao III wrote: “There are things you don’t learn inside classrooms, problem is not the fieldtrips, they are missing the point here, and it is also how schools conduct fieldtrips. Profile, brief, conduct medical and drug testing for drivers. Set speed limit, provide security escorts, these escorts should be on the front and back of the convoy. Bus will follow escorts. School should have full responsibility in terms of safety, it’s a school activity in the first place.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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