x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

All school buses to have licensed female safety monitors

All buses in which female students are riding and buses carrying pupils of both sexes from kindergarten to grade 6 will have female monitors aboard.

All buses in which female students are riding and buses carrying pupils of both sexes from kindergarten to grade 6 will have female monitors aboard.
All buses in which female students are riding and buses carrying pupils of both sexes from kindergarten to grade 6 will have female monitors aboard.

DUBAI // School-bus monitors will undergo stringent certification procedures from the next school year, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced.

All buses in which female students are riding, and buses carrying pupils in kindergarten to grade 6, regardless of sex, will have female monitors aboard, the RTA said yesterday.

All monitors must be at least 25 years old and have a high school certificate, with priority given to those with a bachelor's degree in educational disciplines.

The announcement came two weeks after a Dubai court heard a case against three Indian men accused of sexually molesting a four-year-old girl in their charge aboard a bus. The girl's father said the RTA's move was too little, too late.

"Society here is more reactive than proactive," said the father, who asked not to be identified. "Without a doubt, if these regulations were in place at the time my daughter was assaulted the assault would not have happened. At least this will save someone else's child."

The regulations came after a meeting between the heads of the RTA, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority and the Community Development Authority. The RTA said earlier this month that the measures would soon be made public.

"The RTA has examined the situation as regards school bus conductors in Dubai emirate and reviewed the prerequisites for practising the school bus conductors' profession in the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong to familiarise with the best global practices and experiences in this field," an RTA spokesman said.

Monitors will be required to have clean criminal record, the RTA said. They must also submit to medical fitness tests and be familiar with school transport law and first aid. They will also have to attend special RTA courses.

Teachers or assistant teachers can serve as bus monitors, but must go through the licensing process and qualify for the positions just as any other applicant would, the RTA said.

A spokesman for the Gems Modern High School, which contracted the bus on which the alleged molestation incident took place, said that the school has been trying to recruit female monitors but was finding it difficult.

"Gems Education was the first school provider to announce that they would support the recruitment of female conductors on buses," the spokesman said. "This recruitment process began a couple of months ago and the implementation of this policy will continue.

"We have, however, not found it easy to source and recruit female bus conductors, which will affect the time taken to fully implement what is required."

 

ealghalib@thenational.ae