With no set rules and guidelines in place for school picnics and excursions, teachers and parent groups have demanded that the state bring in some order. Schools often take students to resorts, water parks or outstation trips, which many feel is a risk.
Teachers said several trips organized by schools are no longer educational. “Schools take the children to water parks, amusement parks or tourist destinations outside the city. In most cases, there is no educational or learning element in the excursion. In addition to this, there is risk involved to the safety of the children. All this is in spite of several accidents that have taken place during picnics, “said Uday Nare, teacher at Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.
Ahead mistress from a BMC school said students should be taken to places of importance and learning in the city. “This year, the students were taken to a theme park in a mall. While that might be a good place, students from civic schools do not even get an opportunity to see the museum or the aquarium,“ she said.
Parents, too, have demanded that the education department issue a set of guidelines for schools. “The picnics have been highly commercialized. The destinations are selected on the basis of best monetary given by travel agents. The deals usually include a free ticket for one teacher with every 10 students. The quality and quantity of food is not monitored too, “said Jayant Jain, president, Forum of Fairness in Education, a parents' group.
While schools were earlier expected to take permission from the education department ahead of a trip, the practice has now been discontinued.
“Since the number of schools and excursions have increased, it is impossible to give written permission for everyone. However, it is expected that schools ensure that trips are only educational, “said B B Chavan, deputy director of education, Mumbai.