In elementary and high school, this will not be necessary although travelling can add to children’s experience. During the school year several conventions, competitions and other activities (Quiz Bees, Investigatory Projects, Schools Press Conferences, Beauty Pageants, Talent Tilts – oration, declamation, sports activities and even scouting/campings/jamborees) that can cater to that experience. After competing inside the school for Quiz, Pageants or Sports chances are there will be inter-school competitions in the sub-district/district, division, regional or even national level that might bring students to far places literally.
There is no really bad thing about having educational tours – granted that it is ‘educational’ in the real sense. I heard of Baguio or Tagaytay tour – tsk is it not just an excursion for the good weather in the areas? Or MOA (Mall of Asia Arena) – if the purpose is camaraderie and team building then travelling will take hundreds or thousands of kilometers away for a pricey ticket, it is not so practical and truly irrelevant.
Usually educational tours are sometimes boring destinations – the Planetarium, museums, zoo, aquariums, historical places if it is not; it is probably not one BUT an excursion (say a beach, mall or simply beautiful place without educational significance) or stroll. This is happening, I have my husband’s niece who went in a tour from a school in Bicol to Tagaytay paying more than five thousand pesos (if I am not mistaken) and was obliged to join the expensive trip because of the ‘incomplete’ grade she might get. The fees are maybe reasonable because of the bus rental and food BUT the trip?! Just a cold experience nothing related to any subject, maybe ‘sociability’, for that reason it can be cheaper and may be nearer.
Can we not just leave the excursions to families of each student and concentrate on the real sense of educational tour. Why the schools had been MAYBE obliging whenever they held a ‘Tour’? Because the fuller the bus, the lesser will be the transportation expense of each joiner (dividing the bus charge to the number of attendees). Admit it or not, MOST maybe NOT all tours free the school staff who will join as guardians or the advisers.
Several accidents happened on such tours like:
1. drowned students
2. hit by the maneuvering bus while taking photos
3. latest, bus that loose breaks on the way to a camp site
I hope the Congress can make policies:
- to provide limits on how far (from the school) an educational tour can go
- make such tours NOT a REQUIREMENT but only a part, say 10% of the grade for the RELATED subject. So as to avoid making it COMPULSORY.
- Should secure approval from DEpEd/CHED after submitting proposed destination, PURPOSE, itinerary, suggested fees and activity plan for the departments to deem if the Tour is necessary for the subject and the student or it is just plain relaxation and even gauging the fees if reasonable.
There may be an exception for Tourism students or related college course.
- The schools hosting the Tour must have direct responsibility on choosing RELIABLE transportation vehicle, reminding bus company to EXERCISE high level of maintenance check, and must GET the service of an efficient bus company (not those who have dilapidated bus units running as old as your grandfather) that may not be prone to physical failure – easily wrecks when bumped, loose breaks, rusty body and old engine. They may consider providers who have newer buses to offer not being mechanics to know what a good engine looks like.
There must be a school staff directly responsible with TRANSPORTATION SECURITY who will do ocular inspection (might bring a seasoned/licensed car mechanic and the like) to make sure that the vehicle is in BEST RUNNING CONDITION. That said school staff WILL BE ASKED TO SIGN AND CLAIM responsibility if ever he fails to exercise FULL responsibility on the chosen transporation.
-The bus companies carrying students for tours must also be included in the regulation of school services providing lifts for students. Adhering to principles of safety i.e. doors are working and can be locked.
- Educational Tours must only be applied to College Students (like nursing students who want to see hi-tech medical equipment from a presitigious hospital somewhere/scenic spots for Tourism students/huge well-known bakery for Culinary or Baking students/Art Museums for Fine Arts students) that can really help them understand their courses more or see or even put to application theories learned from school – evident if the tour place provides some training like for example using the medical equipment in that hospital or laboratory.
I hope voices of netizens like this humble blogger can reach the authorities and somehow consider maybe one or two of those suggestions to make all of us live harmoniously especially our students be always safe till they reach graduation.