SHARJAH // Police have begun visiting schools in a bid to help children learn about security, crime and traffic.
The new scheme is part of the recently launched security culture plan being carried out in partnership with the Sharjah Education Council, said Aisha Saif, the council's secretary general.
"Our target is to cover 21 government schools this year," she said. "We shall be expanding to cover more schools in future." There are about 100 government schools in the emirate.
As well as the police visits to classrooms, a magazine called Junior Police is being issued, said Abdullah Sultan al Mulla, the police public relations and moral guidance director general. The publication, printed in English and Arabic, was launched a year ago and was incorporated into the security campaign this year.
"Every month a selected school writes on a security topic with different students contributing and editing the magazine and have it published by the police and distributed to all schools in the emirate," Mr al Mulla said. A prize will be given to the school that produced the best magazine at the end of each year, he said.
Abdullah bin Zubair School in Khorfakhan was selected as last year's winner with their magazine Cyber Crimes: Its Realities and Myths. Police are yet to decide on what prize would be given to the winner on a colourful ceremony to be organised next month.
"It could be a trophy or some cash or both," said Mr al Mulla. "We are still discussing a prize that would be meaningful and encouraging to other schools writing the magazine."
Police officers were at the Al Ansari International School on Monday briefing students about traffic rules, a topic the school will use for the theme of this month's English-language magazine.
Tariq Usama, a Grade 3 student, said the 45-minute session was a worthwhile experience. "I have just learnt from a police supervisor a few more traffic signals, like the one for no overtaking," he said. "I knew most of the signals because we study them in class."
Noora Abdrhaman Hamadi, in the same class as Tariq, also expanded her knowledge, learning that if there was an accident, then police should be called immediately to the scene. She had the procedure down pat by the end of the session.
"All the cars involved in the accident should park on the road side without stopping other cars and wait for police," she said.
Manaha Atiq Rahman was ahead of the game when it came to accidents. The nine-year-old had once seen a man whose leg was bleeding after a traffic incident and said her father had helped him to understand what was happening.
"I was a bit afraid," she said. "But from then on my father told me if am crossing a road I should look left, right and then left again. If there is no car, I can cross."
Sarah Mohammed Fahad learnt the importance of using seat belts from the session and said she would make sure people were using them. "If anyone is not putting on the belt in my dad's car I will tell them to put it on," the eight-year-old said.
Shaheena Fazzaldin, the school's supervisor, said the programme provided an opportunity to improve security and traffic knowledge.
"It's wonderful to know that they already know a lot but they still need to know more as traffic and security are important subjects in any society," she said.
The project was not only creating awareness about security and traffic but also uncovered talent among the students, said Shaima Abdullah al Marzouqi, the police officer supervising the session.
"Really, we found a lot of surprises," she said. "Many students are good writers, artists and illustrators but they didn't know [that]. The school teachers can only help to promote these talents and give a good career guidance to students."