AFTER ANOTHER FIELD trip tragedy that killed seven students from Bulacan State University last Aug. 19, Silliman University has issued a new set of guidelines for field trips based on the memorandum of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Based on the memo from CHED, “waivers, quitclaims, and consent forms signed by parents and students do not automatically relieve the university and its personnel from any liability that may arise from fieldtrip related incidents.”
Aside from permits and chaperones, which have been required since 2012 for fieldtrips, a briefing should now be conducted prior to the trip (with parents and guardians if students are minors). Evaluation of the possible dangers and the required precautionary measures during the trip will be discussed during the briefing.
Before the trip, the new set of guidelines states that the faculty-in-charge must pass a statement of his/her role and responsibility before, during, and after the trip. The trip must also be properly coordinated with local government and non-government offices.
Included in the requirements before the trip are written plans submitted to the Higher Educational Institution (HEI); student, faculty, and other stakeholders’ insurance; format of learning journals given to students; risk assessment plans and preventive measures given to students and stakeholders; medical clearance of students signed by parents or physician; schedule of fees; and duly notarized parent/guardian consent.
During the educational fieldtrip, security of the students and proper implementation of the educational visit must be observed.
The new guideline also requires a debriefing program to be conducted after the trip. This includes reflection of the learning experiences documented in the required journal.
Both briefing and debriefing will be conducted by the concerned HEI, as stated in the CHED memo.
By Nectarina M. Catada