Parents’ thumbs-up for satellite tracking of school buses

By Kabeer Yousuf and Fahad al Ghadani — MUSCAT: Feb 25 – The new school transport monitoring system planned by the Ministry of Education (MoE) has been welcomed by parents from all walks of life. As per an agreement signed between the ministry and Omantel, both public and private school buses will be fitted with satellite tracking devices to improve child safety. It will help both schools and parents monitor buses.
“It’s an excellent idea that gives parents peace of mind when their kids go to and return from schools,” says Yuthar al Rawahy, a member of State Council and Founder & President of Oman Cancer Association.
Lauding the initiative, Thahir, a training and development chief, said the “modern, smart world” has complemented the smart transportation of children for their safety.
“It will reduce the anxiety of parents both in the morning as well as afternoon. During the morning rush, parents can save a lot of time waiting for the bus. In the evening, they can relax even if there is a slight delay because of traffic or other reasons as the new method will help them track the buses carrying the kids,” said Thahir. Parents, he said, should be educated on how to benefit from it.
Mini Padikkal, clinical nutritionist at New Medical Centre Hospital who counsels parents on children’s well-being and a mother of two, said the new initiative can reduce parents’ worries considerably.
“It’s an excellent measure by the Ministry of Education to implement a satellite tracking system in school buses. As parents, we get worried even if there is a delay of 10 minutes due to traffic or any other reason. This system is like an extra safety measure for both children and parents.” “It’s a great step forward to make school buses safe,” says Sulaiman al Khalili, an employee of Ministry of Manpower.
“We have come across many accidents recently in which children have been victims. I hope it will make drivers more responsible and accountable,” Al Khalili added.
Zuwaina, an employee of Bank Muscat, termed the decision “highly opportune”.
“I understand the new system will allow schools and parents to track the buses and sent out an alarm if a student is left inside the bus, especially during summer. Glad to know these buses will be equipped with devices connected directly to the ministry’s educational portal,” Zuwaina added.
For Jaiden and Joselyn, students of a large expatriate school, the news brought a smile on their face. “We strongly feel that the bus drivers, their driving and speed of buses should be monitored and strict measures taken on non-compliance of driving regulations.”
They said the number of children being transported should be as per the seating capacity and all seats should have belts. “There should be someone to ensure kids are wearing belts.”