Muscat, Sept 1 – Starting Sunday, motorists will be jostling for space with vehicles carrying children in school uniform early morning as well as in the afternoon. School buses will hit the roads at around 7 am, carrying children from home to public schools that are opening again for the new academic year. The rush will start again at around 1.45 pm when the children head back home. The past weekend saw parents doing last-minute shopping for school uniforms and stationery. There is one more reason for late shopping: summer vacation coupled with the Eid holidays. Many parents were vacationing with their kids.
The first day of school is much more than one can imagine, says a mother, Ward al Lawati. “Children prefer to have a set of school stationery all aligned together at times. They want matching schoolbag and pouch as well as the lunch box.” She says if you wait till the last minute, you end up picking each item from a different place. “There is every chance that shops run out of stock. To avoid shopping in a crowd, I purchase my children’s school essentials at least one month ahead.”
After the Eid rush, tailors have been working hard to meet their deadlines for school uniforms. “When we wait until the opening of school, there’s not much choice when it comes to – uniforms available in the market, which leaves us rushing to the tailors,” said another mother.
As for Nahla Jamal, mother of three, the move to a new school for her children has added to her concerns. “I’m worried about children getting used to new environment and teachers,” she said.
Her children said they are looking forward to exploring new areas of study and new grades as well as making new friends.
Teachers are quick to point out that this enthusiasm should not diminish after the first few weeks because parents ought to be partners of educators when it comes to educating a child.
Yusuf Moosa, who has three of his children taking the school buses, said that his concern is to ensure there are attendants in every bus who make sure no child is left behind.
“It would be ideal if GPRS and monitoring systems for buses are implemented,” he said.