Oman education: Indian School Muscat kicks off safe transport system
January 11, 2017 | 10:32 PM
by Deeba Hasan/ [email protected] Photos: Deeba Hasan
Routes for phase one include Qurum, Mina Al Fahal area, Al Khuwair, Ruwi and Darsait, all at fixed rates. Phase two will be launched when the new academic year starts in April. Then the buses will be deployed on additional routes. — Photo: Deeba Hasan

Muscat: A safe transport system for pupils is now up and running at the Indian School Muscat.

The largest Indian school in Oman, the Indian School Muscat (ISM), has a strength of nearly 10,000 students, most of whom commute from home to school and back by bus.

In the first phase at the ISM which kicked off last Sunday, the school had pressed into service nine buses that could transport more than 200 students through four routes. “We have all the modern safety equipment in the buses, but the primary factor is that we are limiting the number of children as per the capacity of the bus and all seats will have seat belts.

“The buses also have an IVMS to monitor the driving behaviour, and are also equipped with CCTV cameras inside, through which we can monitor what’s happening inside the bus.

“Each bus will have an attendant who will help the children in boarding and disembarking from the bus and will

monitor them.

“Currently, we have some teachers who have been going around to monitor the vehicles and arrangements. Such close monitoring will be there only for the first week, but there will be an attendant provided by the transporter as part of the agreement,” said Wilson George, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Indian Schools

in Oman.

Routes for phase one include Qurum Mina Al Fahal area, Al Khuwair, Ruwi and Darsait, all at fixed rates. Phase two will be launched when the new academic year starts in April.

Then the buses will be deployed for additional routes.

“We wanted to implement the system in phases because it’s a big school and there are many factors to take care of when it comes to the students and deciding time schedules and routes with the transporters. It’s a time consuming affair and we did not want a situation where new schedules or routes were to be introduced, all at the same time.”

Sending circulars

If parents want to avail the travel facility during phase two of the safe transport system, they can register in advance.

“Of course, wherever we have vacant seats on the existing routes, we will accept children. For phase two, parents can also register with the school for the April session and we will be sending circulars to parents with additional routes

in March.”

According to George, the price difference following the introduction of the new system is about 15 per cent or less.

George also said the school made some assessments regarding the number of children using buses to commute. He said if the school were to extend the facility to all those students, it will have to run 70 such buses.

Contracts have been given to more than one transporter to implement the new system.

“Our policy is to give the contracts to more than one service provider so that they will have an internal competition for quality services.

Besides, we have also set certain KPIs for them.”

George appealed to all the parents to use the new facility. “This is a much awaited service and a dream for many parents. Now that it is in place, things will take some time to stabilse but we are making our best efforts and I request parents to support us so that we can run the service successfully. I also ask them to avail the service for their children.”

Next to be covered by this service will be Muladha and Salalah.

Fourth school

The ISM is the fourth school to put in place the safe transport system. Earlier, Indian Schools Darsait, Mabelah and Seeb were the ones to receive this facility.

“We plan to implement this in all the Indian Schools in Oman. Now, Indian Schools in Muladha and Salalah are seriously considering introducing new buses.”

The safe transport system is part of a greater safety drive introduced by the board in 2014 with all aspects within and outside the school being audited for safety, including buildings, laboratories

and canteens.

“I am grateful to the school for introducing this wonderful transport system as now we can heave a sigh of relief and hope that the supervisors will do their job well under this new scheme,” said Meenakshi, a parent.

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