The Unaided Schools Forum made it clear to the state transport department that they would not like politicians to be included in the school transport committee. At a workshop organised by the transport department at the Andheri RTO (regional transport office) yesterday, several school principals from Bandra to Dahisar made their apprehensions known on the possible interference by local corporators.
In the wake of molestation of a Jamnabai Narsee School student on a school bus recently, the transport department, in order to review the implementation of the school bus and road safety policy, conducted the workshop. The stand taken by the forum comes after transport authorities appealed to schools to form a committee of the principal, a PTA member, an education officer, an RTO officer and the local corporator.
S C Kedia of Unaided Schools Forum, said, “Our schools have always stayed clear of politics. We don’t want any local corporator to be included in the school transport committee. They may create problems for us at the time of admissions. We will be writing to the transport department about this issue.”
The Unaided School Forum also suggested that school principals should not be held responsible if anything happens to a child in a school bus. “We don’t want principals to be held responsible if anything happens to a child in a school bus. Before drafting any policies, we should be included in discussions and suggestions. Only then we can make school buses safe for our children,” Kedia said.
With the regards to the concerns of school bus drivers, Rohit Bhat, principal of Children’s Academy, said, “The experience criteria for school bus drivers must be reduced, as we find it difficult to even find a driver with five years driving experience. There are many students who commute on BEST buses, but there is no safety policy implemented for them. Who would be responsible if anything happens to a student traveling in BEST buses?”
RTO officers A N Bhalchandra and Bharat Kalaskar, and School Bus Owners Association’s Anil Garg also attended the workshop. Replying to the concerns raised by the principal, Bhalchandra said, “We will speak to the government on safety of children using public transport. “ A booklet was also given to all schools, which stated the guidelines that need to be followed by school buses for safety of children.