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Safer school transport plan in phased manner

Staff Reporter

MUSCAT

A new transportation system for schools all over the Sultanate centring around safety of students will be put in place in a phased manner. There are more than 1,000 schools and 700,000 students in the Sultanate.

The school transportation system would be based on the peculiar needs of the Sultanate, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Education and Curriculum HE Dr Hamoud Bin Khalfan Al Harthy said on Tuesday.

In urban areas, students could be transported by buses, but in some remote mountain areas they would have to be taken to school and back by 4WDs, he said. A vital part would be driver training.

The ministry has also determined certain criteria for new buses that will be included in the transportation system, he said at a press conference to announce the opening of the Sultanate’s first exhibition for safe school transport to be held at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 7.

Contractors offering school transportation services will have to comply with them in the future, Al Harthy added.

The ministry, Mwasalat and Omantel were working on a trial project involving 500 to 1,000 schools, he said.

The system would include training, byelaws and new legislation that make the driver, vehicle owner,  teachers, school and ministry administrations and parents responsible for safety.

For the ministry, a safe and secure environment also included the school building.

Director General of Education Dr Ali Al Harthy said the ministry was working in coordination with road safety institutions to solve  problems to make school transport safe.

Vision Exhibitions and Conferences CEO Salim Al Amri said the exhibition would have the latest developments in student transportation.

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