Parental consent, insurance must for academic tours

ALLAHABAD: All academic tours, excursions and industrial visits undertaken by students of colleges and universities will now be undertaken only after getting proper consent letters from their parents. They would also require to have a mandatory insurance indemnifying them against risks.The University Grants Commission (UGC) passed strict guidelines this month to be followed by all institutions under its ambit in connection with taking students for excursion, be it part of the syllabus or otherwise. The guidelines were framed following series of mishaps involving students on campus as well as on tours came to light. One such incident occurred last year in Himachal Pradesh where 24 engineering students, who were on an excursion, had drowned in river Beas.As per the guidelines, the students would also require a mandatory insurance indemnifying them against various emergencies and risks while on such tours. Moreover, if the number of students on such excursions exceeds 50, a qualified doctor with adequate supply of medicines will also form a mandatory part of the entourage.The instruction bears significance in terms of Allahabad University as there are several departments on the campus which take the students for excursion as it forms part of the postgraduate course. Be it botany, geography or anthropology, students of these departments go for field work every year and prepare a synopsis after returning to the campus.

Besides making the guidelines available on its official website, the UGC has sent copies to vice-chancellors of all universities, including AU for implementation. The move aims at transforming the campuses of higher educational institutions into “oasis of safety, security and study”.

The guidelines state that before proceeding on a tour, all the students should be properly briefed by way of “training session”. They should be made aware about the geography, climate, hazardous locations and risk zones at the proposed destination, codes on environmental protection, emergency procedures and basic first aid.

“Students should be allowed to carry personal communication devices such as mobile phones. They should be instructed to remain in constant touch with their parents/guardians. This would also facilitate casualty handling and communication in the event of an emergency,” the guidelines state.

Commenting on the UGC instructions, head of the department of botany, Prof Anupam Dikshit said, “Going on excursion is part of the syllabus in MSc and our students have been going on tour every year. The department is strictly following all necessary precautions, including taking ample stock of medicines. This is a welcome step by UGC and would go a long way in making these important trip safer for the students.”


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