Abu Dhabi, UAE: The education regulator has started inspections of school transport to ensure pupils are driven to and from school safely.
The school transport executive committee is coordinating regular visits to every public and private school.
They follow last month’s death of a three-year-old girl who was locked in a school bus.
The school transport committee is a joint effort between Abu Dhabi Education Council and the police traffic and patrols department.
Inspections will ensure pupils receive a safe, sustainable, convenient and high-quality service.
Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, director general of Adec, said ensuring children’s safety was a top priority and a shared responsibility among all government organisations, transport providers, community members and parents, as well as the pupils.
Dr Al Qubaisi stressed the importance of educating the workers involved in school transport about their responsibilities.
But she said it was also crucial that children be taught how to stay safe.
Brig Hussein Al Harithi, director of the traffic and patrols department and chairman of the committee, called on transport providers and supervisors to abide by the newly introduced school transport regulations.
Brig Al Harithi said parents needed to be assured that their children were safe travelling to and from school.
He said schools must appoint qualified and trained supervisors to accompany pupils, and to ensure they were well behaved.
Brig Al Harithi said buses must be continuously inspected to ensure children’s safety.
“We always inspect them to make sure the correct entities are following the regulations,” he said.
All entities involved, including schools, the Department of Transport and police, must cooperate to ensure the vehicles were properly equipped.
“Children must always be accompanied during the bus ride, even as they are getting on or off the bus,” Brig Al Harithi said.
“There should also be smart devices within the buses that monitor the children’s movements and whereabouts.”
Committee leader Ali Makki said it would closely inspect school transport to ensure the operators obeyed regulations and laws to make a safe environment and limit accidents.
On October 7, three-year-old Nizaha Aalaa was left on a school bus and died because of the heat.
The school that the girl attended, Al Worood Academy Private School, was ordered to close by August next year.
The closure was ordered by Adec and the school will be under the supervision of the council until then. Further reporting on the girl’s death has been prohibited by the Attorney General.
© The National