Nationals as school bus supervisors in Abu Dhabi

Taylor Scott International News

Nationals as school bus supervisors in Abu Dhabi Olivia Olarte-Ulherr / 27 August 2013 When classes at public schools open on September 8, school bus checks will be carried out by Emiratis who are newly employed to serve as school bus supervisors. “A total of 550 existing positions will be replaced by Emiratis between September 2013 and January 2014” following a phased approach, said Engineer Khaled Al Ansari, school services manager at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec). The move is part of the Emiratisation plan by the council — to create 678 new jobs as school bus supervisors (escorts) and provide sustainable employment opportunities for UAE nationals in the education sector. “The roll-out will depend upon the actual demand for buses, the availability of resources and the procedures of Emirates Transport. Female bus supervisors will (also) be employed for all Kindergarten and Cycle 1 (Grades 1-5) schools,” he added. Public school bus service provider Emirates Transport is collaborating with the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council to select the Emirati candidates for the position. “So far, Tawteen have received CVs and conducted orientation sessions and interviews with suitable candidates,” Al Ansari told Khaleej Times. All bus escorts will be provided comprehensive training by Emirates Transport. According to Al Ansari, this strategy will contribute to the learning and growth of Emiratis, in addition to responding to community requests for their greater involvement in school-related activities. “Supervising the health and safety of students whilst they are in transit also provides an important opportunity for enhancement of cultural traditions and positively influencing student behaviour.” Asked if the Emiratis are willing to work as bus supervisors, Al Ansari said: “Yes, many Emiratis are very keen to be involved in the supervision of students on the buses as this provides them with a great opportunity to promote safety and assist in the growth and behavioural guidance of our young people.” Bus supervisors’ primary responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of his or her wards whilst travelling to and from school. This includes ensuring they are properly seated with seat belts fastened when the bus is in motion, that all children have disembarked and that those below 11 years are personally collected by a guardian at the drop off. They are also required to participate in educating students about traffic safety and the proper demeanour inside the bus. There are currently 1,791 school buses serving the public schools across the emirate. For the new academic year, 76 additional buses will be introduced to cover new residential areas, including Al Falah City. As part of the Department of Transport’s (DoT) safety and security measures, schools buses are required to be equipped with a CCTV system with an audio and video recording capability, which can be accessed wireless in case of emergency, and with a storage capacity of at least four weeks. At least four external cameras should be fixed to cover all sides of the bus showing the front, entrance, rear and when the bus is in reverse; with a monitoring screen on the dashboard in front of the driver. A GPS system should also be in place to monitor the movement and location of the buses. – Responsibilities of school bus escorts > Ensure that all students are seated while the bus is moving and are using seatbelts where they are provided. No student is to be seated in the central seat or the rear row > Ensure that no student is left on board at the final destination > Ensure students under 11 years returning home are dropped off with a guardian. In case the guardian is not available, inform the school that the student is being returned to the school after the remaining students are dropped off > Ensure students behave and look after their safety during the journey. Report any incidents to the school transport coordinator > Ensure doorways, aisles and emergency exits are clear of any obstructions during the journey > Assist students in crossing the streets > Assist in evacuating the bus in case of an emergency > Use car seats for students below four years of age in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions > Refrain from eating, drinking and using the telephone while students are on the bus > Participate in educating students about traffic safety and how to use the bus, and supervise any entertainment programme on the bus Source: Department of Transport Taylor Scott International

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