Posted on August 22, 2019

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has announced that all preparations for the new academic year have been completed, confirming the readiness of the relevant departments to ensure the security and safety of all concerned. The 2019-20 academic year starts on August 25.

The ministry explained that all departments concerned were ready to usher in the new academic year by taking all preventive measures, whether related to the security and safety requirements in schools and various educational buildings, or traffic-related in order to enable all road users to reach their destinations easily and help ease traffic circulation, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported. The MoI called upon all concerned to abide by traffic rules in order to save lives and property, stressing the need to ensure all safety requirements in schools and educational buildings to provide a safe learning environment for all.

In this context, director of Al Fazaa Major Naif bin Faleh al-Thani, said the department's security plans for the new school year are aimed at intensifying patrols near schools to intervene when needed and to help in cases of traffic congestion near school buildings. The department co-operates with the General Directorate of Traffic and Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya) to ensure road safety, alleviate traffic jams around schools, facilitate movement on streets when students enter and exit schools, and ensure safe movement in those areas, he noted.

Major Naif called on parents of the students to go to their children's schools early and take into account the change of traffic on some roads and streets as a result of closures. He also called on motorists to co-operate with the police and other road users, strictly abide by traffic rules and regulations, and avoid misbehaviour affecting road safety. Colonel Mohamed Radi al-Hajri, director of the Traffic Awareness Department at the General Directorate of Traffic, affirmed that all preparations for deployment at surrounding intersections and roads leading to schools have been completed to ease potential traffic congestion and ensure that students arrive in schools on time.

He explained that the 'back-to-school' campaign organised by the Traffic Awareness Department covers all areas of the country and all categories of school students, in order to urge them to adhere to the values of traffic safety through the distribution of gifts and guidebooks, especially for primary and pre-school stages. He informed that these books include information that takes into consideration a student's age to highlight the importance of etiquette while travelling on a school bus and getting off it, wearing the seatbelt and other traffic guidelines. He added that the campaign also includes guidance for teachers and bus supervisers on how to introduce students to the rules of traffic safety and enhance their traffic awareness.

Further, Colonel al-Hajri said the campaign includes special instructions for preparatory and secondary students, especially a warning against driving without a licence, in addition to monitoring students through the presence of traffic patrols in front of schools for maintaining traffic discipline. As for undergraduates, he stressed the keenness of the General Directorate of Traffic to educate such students through organising awareness lectures and field visits, pointing out that these programmes and traffic events continue throughout the academic year in implementation of the General Directorate of Traffic's plan to spread traffic awareness.

Through the 'back-to-school' campaign, the directorate organises field visits to a number of schools over a period of four days starting on Monday in order to deliver awareness messages to students and their parents, QNA adds. On his part, First Lieutenant Abdul Hadi Ali al-Marri, officer at the Media and Preventive Education Section of the General Directorate of Civil Defence (GDCD), stressed the importance of the availability of security and safety requirements in schools, adding this is what the directorate is doing within its responsibility for security, public safety and fire prevention.

He said there is co-ordination between the directorate and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education regarding the provision of security and safety requirements across all schools in the country, adding that the Civil Defence visits schools to check the availability of safety requirements and compliance with its procedures in order to maintain the safety of students and school staff. He explained that private schools are also subject to this system, underling the importance of security and safety procedures being followed at such institutions. The Civil Defence conducts sudden inspection campaigns at these schools to ensure their commitment to the availability of all safety devices and systems.

Regarding awareness, First Lieutenant al-Marri stressed that the GDCD's Media and Preventive Education Section has an awareness plan that will be implemented after regular studies began across all schools in the country. This will be done through organising awareness lectures for students to educate them on the requirements of security and safety, distributing brochures and leaflets awareness, and training students and teaching staff on fire-fighting and evacuation operations as well as training them on how to use fire extinguishers and how to exit safely.

He said the directorate deals with, through the ministry's website, requests for awareness and traffic education for schools wishing to implement awareness programmes with the GDCD, for which electronic registration on the website is required.