By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT: March 22 – The huge yellow buses that commute thousands of Omani students to the public schools every day will soon disappear from the roads leaving a trail of memories of decades for many generations as the Ministry of Education has plans to replace the old buses with new ones over a period of time. As part of modernising the basic education infrastructure and to ensure advanced safety and security measures in public school buses, the ministry will slowly but steadily replace the existing ones with new buses which are equipped with better safety and security standards for the students.
“We are changing the huge yellow school buses with modern buses slowly but steadily as the ministry is constantly seeking better measures for the safety of the pupils,” said Fatma bint Abdul Abbas Noorani, Director-General of Private Schools at the Ministry of Education.
However, she added that it was too early to comment on the chances of tying up with national transport company — Mwasalat for school transportation.
“We have to work out the modalities as changing some several hundreds of buses at a time is not a small task and needs more time,” she added, while attending the Muscat University networking event titled ‘Private schools and meeting with the future capacity of the Sultanate’ held at the Children’s Library in Qurum on Tuesday.
She said that safer transportation for all children irrespective of their schools or nationalities is the prerogative of the ministry and the authorities will ensure both community and private schools to follow strict norms in transporting children.
“We have urged all private schools to implement safer transportation for children and different schools are liaising with various companies and IT firms to bring the guidelines into action,” Fatma added.
About fee hike in some of the private schools where parents lament such a unilateral decision by the school management, the official said that schools are authorised to increase tuition fee marginally, but anything which is exorbitant can be reported to the ministry.
“Increasing tuition fee by some private or community schools is the prerogative of the management committees of these schools. However, if the rise is beyond affordable ceiling, then it can be reported to the Ministry of Education which will carry out an inquiry into it.”