The schools in India have reopened to welcome the newly joined students and those who have been promoted to the next standard. As our children go
to school in their new school attire and board school buses, autorickshaws or private vehicles, their travel safety raises concern. Shocking accidents in the past that have happened between homes and schools worry the parents of school-going children.
School season in India has begun. With 57% of children out of the gross enrolled 98% going to school, it is important that we do not forget the fact that, in some parts of our country, school is still a hard-won luxury. Many children in India are struggling hard to receive the education that some of us may take for granted.
Now-a-days, most of the schools in India own school buses to transport children to school and back to their homes. Only some sections of the children depend on this mode of transportation; others still depend on various other modes of private transportation like bicycles, auto-rickshaws, mini-vans, etc. When compared to the students depending on vehicles, the percentage of those who walk to school and back is very less. Still some percentage of students cannot afford to travel by school buses or have no accessibility. Whatever the mode of transportation, it is likelier that safety issues always arise.
A recent research has found that a child travelling to school by other modes of transportation is seven times more likely to be killed or injured than when travelling in a school bus. This study has shown that cars and private vans are also major modes of transportation as school buses. Of the school students, 45% commuted by private vehicles, 35% by school buses, and only 10% each by walking and other modes of transportation. Owing to using private vehicles as a major mode of transport, cars and two-wheelers were found heavily parked outside the school gate, resulting in narrowing the traffic areas, preventing the pedestrians from using the footpath and being compelled to walk on the road having heavy traffic. Results of opinion survey revealed that 51% of students cross the road while going to school, and 72% of students have to cross the road while leaving the school.
(Read the full part of this article in the June Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015 )