Focus on school bus safety as Ministry of Education issues edict to headteachers

9-point circular to keep children safe is sent to schools across the country as academic year gets under way

Abu Dhabi, UAE - September 10, 2017 - Students of British School of Al Khubairat arrive by school bus for their first day of the new year - Navin Khianey for The National

The Ministry of Education has reminded schools that student safety at school and on school buses is their responsibility, as it issued a 9-point circular to keep children safe this academic year.

Principals across the country were instructed to inspect school premises and take all safety precautions to keep children safe during the school day and while on school buses. Schools have also been told to provide a relaxing, air-conditioned space where children wait for buses, rather than them waiting under the heat of the sun in open areas.

The circular also made it clear that pupils are banned from leaving the school premises alone and that bus attendants in each bus are important, as it is their job to take the child from their parent in the morning and return them back to the parent after school.

Schools were also directed to open doors as early as 6.30am for students who arrive early and to make sure that supervisors are present from that time to ensure children are safe.

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Students are not to be left unsupervised while playing and schools are obliged to provide a supervisor until the last student leaves.

The ministry also stressed the importance of employing qualified security guards at school gates and ordered that these people should not be cleaners or drivers.

Periodic inspections of the premises should also be conducted to remove any or all objects that may jeopardise students’ safety, such as electric cables or waste and plants that may attract rodents or reptiles.

Emirates Transport also reported on Monday a smooth operation as children across the country went back to school.

The federal transport company said that, on Sunday, 5,582 school buses transported nearly 230,000 pupils enrolled at 702 government and private schools across the country.

The fleet was boosted by 303 new buses and 5,597 bus drivers and 7,900 bus supervisors operating from nine school transport hubs and 33 bus depots facilitated the safe transport of children to school.