The House Committee on Basic Education and Culture wants educational field trips and off-campus activities in all public and private schools to include visits to historical and cultural heritage sites.
In Committee Report No. 753, the House panel chaired by Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo recommended the passage of House Bill 8737 proposing to regulate the conduct of off-campus educational activities by both public and private schools.
HB 8737 is the substitute bill for HB 2117 authored by Bataan Rep. Jose Enrique S. Garcia III that seeks to amend Republic Act No. 10066, otherwise known as the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.
Authorized venues for off-campus activities or field trips are museums, cultural or historical site and landmarks, churches, temples and other places of worship, parks and natural habitats, farms, botanical gardens or arboretums, zoos, laboratories government offices and other workplaces and military facilities, among others.
In pushing for the approval of the bill, Garcia cited provisions of the 1987 Constitution that mandates the state to inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, while at the same time, encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.
He said the legislative measure also seeks to teach the youth to appreciate the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country and teach them the rights and duties of citizens.
“This aims to truly promote and popularize our historical and cultural heritage and inculcate patriotism and nationalism among Filipinos, especially the youth,” Garcia stated.
To be known as the Off-Campus Education Act, HB 8737 mandates that off-campus educational activities must be relevant and aligned with the educational competencies of the curriculum and are part of program requirement embodied in the approved curriculum.
The bill identifies specific places, destinations or field of interest that will serve as authorized venues for the conduct of off-campus educational activities.
Under the bill the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education are
mandated to separately accredit the venues, destinations and activities where educational institutions may conduct off-campus activities.
To be granted accreditation, the destination or venue must be suitable in for the learning objectives; has sufficient amenities and facilities for the comfort and convenience of learners and has adequate protective protocols to ensure the security and safety of students.
The bill stresses that no educational institution will engage a service provider unless duly accredited by DepEd or CHED.
Expenses for the conduct of off-campus educational activities will be primarily paid for by the students subject to consultation with the parents or guardians.
Graduated penalties are sought to imposed. This include fines ranging from P50,000 to P300,000 for various offenses.