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UAE Press: Back to school safely is a priority

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ABU DHABI, 28th August, 2023 (WAM) — As the first day of school runs merges with the office rush hour, particularly on a Monday, road safety reminders are not out of place, commented a UAE daily, noting that a well-timed initiative by the Federal Traffic Council has sought to make 28th August an Accident Free Day.

“Factoring in the morning stress of the first day of back to school, the traffic campaign states that if drivers sign an online pledge to not break traffic regulations, motorists can have “black points” erased,” The National said in an editorial on Monday.

This is a strong incentive for drivers and a worthy initiative for safer roads. All it needs is for drivers to follow the best practices: avoid speeding, maintain safe distances and be cautious while changing lanes and overtaking.

There are other road safety tips that experts have given The National; following them is to everyone’s benefit. There is no excuse for past fatal accidents involving school buses and pupils to ever be repeated. Or for speeding vehicles causing inadvertent yet devastating losses to parents.

The daily continued, “In time for the new school term โ€“ or school year, depending on the curriculum โ€“ Dubai has launched a high-tech bus equipped with smart safety measures, including surveillance cameras and alert systems that would ensure no child is left on board. Abu Dhabi already has school buses equipped with cameras.

“As pupils, teaching staff and parents once again find their routines, it is noteworthy that this will be the first year after 2019 to be free of Covid-19 restrictions. Pupils will not have to wear masks or face any hindrances, unlike the years of remote learning that were stressful for a number of reasons.”

According to the UN, by April 2020, close to 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school. That pupils have done well in their GCSE, despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, is a testament to the strength of the UAE’s education system, including its institutions and pupils’ resilience.

Educators will do well to gently remind the pupils headed back to classrooms that they are among the privileged. In 2018, about 258 million children and youth were still out of school. By 2030, the UN estimates 84 million children will be out of school if measures aren’t taken to educate every child, correcting global setbacks, including those caused by the pandemic.

Even as the right to a quality education remains one of the key UN Sustainable Development Goals, millions of young people around the world are not going to be sitting at the school desks they deserve to be at.

“As tens of thousands of pupils in the UAE head back to school for the new term on Monday morning or later this week, it is an important perspective to keep in mind โ€“ one that might propel countless young people to give their best at school,” concluded the Abu Dhabi-based daily.

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