Several schools bunk road safety campaign
Many institutions denied having received notifications from education dept, while others conformed partially to suggestions; not a single school bus driver turned up for RTO training session yesterday, which has now been deferred till Saturday
A child spends a major part of the day on the roads – trying to reach school, home, tuition classes, playgrounds, malls and friends’ houses. We often come across kids running onto the streets to collect balls, or chasing animals.
These are instances that redefine the ambit of the road safety campaign, which cannot remain a mundane event, but needs to make children understand the consequences of their actions, and also ask motorists to be more alert to prevent untoward incidents.
Sadly, many schools, despite getting circulars from the education department to conduct a road safety week for kids gave the drive a cold shoulder. Some claim they weren’t notified. As per the guidelines set by the education department, schools were expected to conduct drawing competitions, essay-writing contests and other activities for students on road safety issues.
Road Safety Patrol (RSP) training was previously being imparted to SSC students, but many schools have put an end to that. “Not all schools take these circulars from the education department seriously,” said Anil Garg, chairman of School Bus Owners Association.
NB Chavan, deputy director, school education, said, “Circulars were sent to all schools. It was not compulsory, but we expected them to participate so students could learn about road safety and traffic rules.” The department has also asked schools to send reports of their activities to respective regional education offices.
Anil Garg added, “The traffic department sent us a letter on January 12, asking us to send school bus drivers for training at 11am on January 15. They should have organised it on January 13, which was a Sunday, when we wouldn’t have had to pick up and drop students.” Consequently, sources say not a single driver was present for training yesterday. Now, Andheri RTO has decided to reschedule the event on Saturday.
Meanwhile, schools claim that the guidelines were followed and students were taught the right lessons. Baptist Pinto, principal, St Mary’s School (SSC), Mazgaon said, “We just conducted drawing and essay competitions among students. But this was done in our ICSE branch. We did observe the road safety week.”
Michael Pinto, principal of St John Baptist School, Thane, said, “We did receive the circular on road safety to conduct some programmes, but we did not arrange events like drawing or essay competitions in our school. We organised an event wherein information on traffic rules and road safety was imparted to students.”
Swati Popat Vats, director of Podar Jumbo Kids, said, “The onus lies with schools to include road safety in their curriculum in every class, and they should realise that this is part of life skills development. There is no need for an official circular or pressure from the education department to tell us this.”