Ensuring the children’s safety on the school bus is a growing concern for parents.
Recent incidents, including the tragic death of a grade 10 student who was run over after getting off the bus, have raised questions about the safety of school transportation.
School is the safest place for our children as we have the sense that being inside the school is the safest place for them.
But now the question is do we have the comfort of the kids being transported by school bus? Can the driver ensure our children reach their destination safely?
As parents we have problems worrying about children’s safety.
We have read the recent news of incidents involving school buses in Oman.
The most tragic incident was at the start of the academic year when a grade 10 student died when she was run over after coming off the bus.
The situation was addressed by Royal Oman Police (ROP) which urged all vehicles to take caution and to slow down while driving through roads near the schools and for the bus drivers to abide by the safety measures while transporting the students to their school and back to their homes.
Speaking to some of the parents who revealed that they find it safer to drop their children to school even if it means going to work a bit late.
Then comes the return trip back home as many of the parents are still working when the children are heading back home. This was the case in Al Dakhiliyah when a student fell off a moving bus. The scene was captured on video which went viral on social media.
This caused many parents to call for tougher measures and newer regulations on student’s safety. We need better safety regulations or laws not only for the bus drivers but also on the standard of buses being used, say some of the parents.
The most recent accident happened in Al Sharqiyah North Governorate in the Wilayat of Dima W'attayeen, when a school bus collided with a vehicle resulting in 16 injuries with 3 being serious.
There are also growing concerns from parents of the condition of some of the buses. It is not hard to see some of the conditions of the buses on the road while some of the buses lack air conditioners and are overcrowded with students, says Khalid al Balushi, a concerned parent.
While Khadija al Amri, another parent said that better screening while selecting drivers or transportation companies are required as we put our children's lives on their hands.
Some parents have found the solution to transport their children if it means being late to work or having to leave for work early.
The ROP and Ministry of Education (MoE) are working to ensure the safety of the students. In the wake of the recent incidents involving student buses the MoE is said to be working on new school transportation laws, to provide better solutions and to ensure student safety while being transported.
This is seen as a positive step for the general public and one which should ease concerns and provide relief for the parents.
Efforts should also come from the schools as well, conducting inspections on the condition of the buses or driver’s feedback would help in greatly reducing the accidents and provide ease in the parent minds. Ensuring the safety of the children also safeguards our future generations.
Saif al Shaibany
The writer is a banker by day and a storyteller by night