By Ayman Adly & Joseph Varghese/Doha
Hundreds of thousands of students are expected to resume their studies today across various educational stages, as schools reopen for the new academic year after a long summer break.
Employees at government entities and public institutions that have been closed for the Eid al-Adha holidays will also resume work today.
With heavy traffic expected from today, commuters have been advised to start early to reach their destination safely and on time.
Some 2,150 school buses with 25-40 seats each will transport students to public schools and kindergartens around the country, local Arabic daily Arrayah has said, citing a source at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
As for private schools, the ministry has followed up on the delivery of textbooks and other educational resources from 23 countries, pertaining to a wide range of curricula, to ensure that the supply is not affected by the ongoing blockade.
The ministry has made sure that the books are available for distribution to students from the first day of the new academic year.
In addition, 25 new private schools will start operations this school year, offering around 8,000 additional seats. The department concerned at the ministry has stressed that seats are available for all students in the country across different schools and curricula.
The ministry has called upon schools around the country to abide by safety and security regulations, which include 18 points, in addition to ensuring the availability and readiness of necessary equipment in the school buildings as well as other relevant facilities such as sports grounds, computer and science laboratories, and classrooms.
Schools should also have the adequate number of teachers and administrative staff for the smooth conduct of everyday operations.
In addition, schools have been instructed by the ministry to provide parking lots for parents and ensure a well-organised and safe exit and entry process for students.
A student discipline strategy approved by the ministry will also be implemented from this year. It aims to enhance discipline in different institutions and encourage students to abide by the rules.
Further, the ministry has instructed government schools to have reduced school hours on the first day of the new academic year and allow students to go home by 11am, while starting to train them on the proper way of exiting the school from 10am.
Besides, schools have sent SMSes to parents to remind them of the start of school today and the system of calculating absence and attendance.
Besides public schools, several international schools and some universities will also reopen today. At Qatar University, the new academic year will start next week.
Indian schools, which are set to reopen after the summer holidays though their new academic year started a few months ago, will have about 40,000 students resuming studies today, it is learnt.
With the reopening of schools, traffic is expected to be heavy in many parts of the city, especially in areas where schools are located.
A traffic safety official has advised commuters to start early to avoid delays in reaching their destinations. He has advised motorists to be ‘doubly careful’ and avoid distractions such as mobile phones, texting, using WhatsApp or watching videos while driving.
Resident have been advised to make sure that their vehicles are in good condition and should inspect them thoroughly before use. In particular, people who have returned to the country after the vacation should take special care to ensure that their cars - which have not been used for a long time - are in proper shape. Such measures are important as they can help avoid any delay that may be caused by a breakdown, especially in peak hours.
Meanwhile, a large number of people were seen at hypermarkets and other retail outlets as they made last-minute ‘Back-to-school' purchases.
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