Traffic snarls worry parents as schools open
September 07 2014 02:18 AM

Shops selling stationery saw a large number of visitors yesterday with the schools reopening for the new academic year in Qatar today.  PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam

With more than 243,000 students set to start a new academic year today, Qatar residents have expressed mixed feelings of elation and anxiety, elated to see their children in schools but anxious about the pressures it would add to their daily schedule and the worsening of the traffic snarls.

Several people, who spoke to Gulf Times, said they were worried that the schools’ opening  would add to the nerve-wracking traffic jams, which have already been forcing people to waste hours on the roads. Many of them blamed the situation on the overall poor planning of the work.

They said they were  happy to see  their children in school uniforms again. Some parents who secured admission for their children after much hassle said the government should do more to make affordable education available to expatriates. There is a severe dearth of  seats, particularly in schools run by members of the Indian community.

This year, more than 243,000 children will be attending the 385 schools, including kindergartens, in the country. These include 178 Independent and 154 private schools as well as 53 kindergartens. There has been a 25% increase in the number of students this year compared to the previous academic year.

The beginning of the new school year has also spiked the population of the country as those on vacation have started returning to Qatar. The population, which stood at 2,077,357 on August 31 must have crossed the 2.1mn mark by now, a source said.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said it  is all set to usher in the new academic year.

All MoI departments have made necessary arrangements to ensure the safety of students, with “traffic safety being a priority area”, a spokesman said.

As part of this, the Traffic Department has organised a workshop on road safety for school bus drivers in collaboration with transport providers Karwa.

The workshop discussed issues like necessary safety tools on buses and the supervisors’ role while students board and disembark the buses.  

The Traffic Department has urged parents to obey rules, especially wearing seat belts and driving within the  speed limits, so that they could act as role models for children .

Drivers and parents have also been asked to start early to reach school on time as “traffic delays are expected” because of the road development   works being implemented.  

Meanwhile, the Civil Defence has organised a series of fire drills at educational institutes .




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