A bill seeking to regulate the conduct of off-campus educational activities by public and private schools, approved on final reading in the House of Representatives.
The lower chamber approved House Bill No. 8737 or the “Off Campus Education Act” with 202 affirmative votes, six negative votes, and no abstention.
Under the measure, no off-campus educational activities shall be undertaken unless they are:
- Relevant and aligned with the educational competencies of the curriculum;
- Part of program requirement embodied in the approved curriculum; or
- Necessary to the acquisition of relevant knowledge, skills, and values of the learners
“Except when the off-campus educational activity is indispensable in the completion of program or curriculum requirements, participation in such activity shall be on a voluntary basis only,” the bill reads.
“In no case shall the inability to participate in the off-campus activity constitute a failure to complete any requirement or in any way put the learner at a disadvantage,” it adds.
The bill, however, also defines various venues where off-campus activities may be authorized such as museums, cultural or historical sites, churches and temples, parks and natural habitats, farms, zoos, laboratories and government offices, among others.
Authorized activities, meanwhile include conventions, seminars, conferences, volunteer works, immersion, outreach, inter school competitions, and culture and arts performances and competition, among others.
The bill also mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to promulgate specific policies and guidelines to be observed by educational institutions, learners, parents and guardians, and other stakeholders involved in the implementation of off-campus educational activities.
Educational institutions conducting off-campus educational activities outside the accredited off-campus venues and destinations will be penalized.
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