Mendoza: Stringent measures on field trips issued in support of K to 12

EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones issued DepEd Order No. 66, S.2017 which contains new implementing guidelines on the conduct of off-campus activities for all public and private elementary and secondary schools on December 27 last year. The directive lifted DepEd Memorandum No. 47 series of 2017 or the “Moratorium on Educational Field trips and Other Similar Activities”

Secretary Briones emphasized that the new guidelines are issued “in support of the K to 12 curriculum implementation.” She also stressed that “all co-curricular and extracurricular activities” should adhere to the new guidelines set by the Deped.

With these stringent measures provided, all public and private schools are asked to “ensure relevance and alignment with the educational competencies of the K to 12 Curriculum and leadership development of learners;” “uphold child protection principles and that no learner shall be disadvantaged in any form;” and “observe the safety and security protocols for all participants before, during and after the activity.”

The Order reminded that participation – especially by learners – in co-and extracurricular activities will be voluntary and no learner shall be required to participate in any off-campus activity and all co-curricular and extracurricular shall have no grade requirement.

It was also made clear that all nonparticipating learners shall not be required with any special projects and/ or examination or any form of school requirements and school heads shall ensure that off-campus activities will, in no way, disrupt classes.

This time, travel insurance will be mandatory for all off-campus activities thus, no one will be allowed to join off-campus activities without securing this primary requirement.

The following are the ones that the school needs to prepare for off-campus activities: planning, safety and security measures, site selection for field trips/educational trips, service providers, provision for learners with special needs, parents/guardian conference and predeparture briefing. Private schools may also adopt their own planning process to ensure that off-campus activities are aligned with the curriculum and will help attain educational competencies.

Enumerated are the safety and security measures to be observed during the off-campus activity is the “buddy system” and the wearing of “learner safety and emergency card” with the learners’ emergency contact details – among others. Involved stakeholders in the activity should observe the guidelines “with due diligence” – particularly following school rules; inspection of vehicle; signing a manifest before leaving the school premises and upon return to school; tracking or head count; briefing upon arrival; close supervision of learners, and post-activity vehicle check.

The directive issued by Deped also stressed that learners who join an off-campus activity will only be dropped off at the designated waiting area in school and gives this particularly to elementary learners that they shall not be allowed to leave school premises without their fetchers. To further give teeth to the issuance, DepEd warned that “any violation of abuse of the said order” shall be dealt with accordingly.

What was being emphasized in the implementing guidelines is that the activity is in support of the learning process of students relevant off-campus activities and being implemented by the Deped at the different governance levels to supplement and enhance classroom-based theories and concepts with immersive activity-based learning experiences.

DepEd Order No. 66, or Guidelines, standards and procedures in the conduct of off-campus activities involving learners, teachers and relevant offices should also help ensure that the participants get the “maximize gains from such activity and ensure its alignment with the overall learning outcomes.”

Briones pointed out that off-campus activities, which can be co-curricular or extra-curricular shall not be used as a means to raise funds for the school or an association and all curricular and nationally mandated off-campus activities shall be subject to existing policies governing them.

Everybody is encouraged to read in full this Deped Order before planning an off campus activity.

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Director’s Cut:(This portion features the thoughts of lawyer Alberto Escobarte, CESO IV, Regional Director, DepEd-Davao to all stakeholders and recipients of the efforts to improve the basic education). "Let me assure you that in the performance of my official duties and even my private acts will be guided and guarded by my Oath of Office, The Panunumpa ng Kawani ng Gobyerno, the Philippine Constitution and all the laws that govern our actions.”

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You can access DepEd Updates, latest issuances, photos and other relevant information through our website: http://www.deped.gov.ph and our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Deped.Philippines/. For queries, complains and other concerns for the different schools divisions email them to davao.city@deped.gov.ph, davao.delsur@deped.gov.ph, davao.delnorte@deped.gov.ph, tagum.city@deped.gov.ph, panabo.city@deped.gov.ph, igacos@deped.gov.ph, davao.oriental@deped.gov.ph, digos.city@deped.gov.ph, mati.city@deped.gov.ph and compostela.valley@deped.gov.ph
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