Cross-roads for students announced
Students crossing roads have been a major concern for the public and government. Most schools are situated close to roadsides in Kurdistan region, and consequently students have faced difficulties trying to cross roads safely. Negligence by drivers has caused many student fatalities. The Ministry of Education from Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in cooperation with NIM company launched Road Crossing Safety projects which aims to protect students, and enable them to cross roads safely.
In a ceremony held at the Culture Hall in Erbil last week, the project was theoretically explained. Education Minister, NIM company representative, and 200 Basic School headmasters in Erbil attended the ceremony. After talking about the project in detail, Saman Brifkani, the project organizer, asked the school headmasters to convey the project information to their students so that they can cross roads safely. "As part of an awareness project, three trained students and their supervising instructor, everyday at early in the morning and in the afternoon when school is over, wear special clothes and hats. They have (Stop Sign) panel with whistles in their hands used for stopping cars while students are crossing roads." Explained Brifkani.
The project was practiced on February 19, in front of Shilan Basic School, a place where two students were hit by a car a few months ago. The project was decided to be practiced in all the other schools of Erbil and will also be practiced in the Duhok and Suelimaniya schools in the future. “Anything suggested for the sake of our children's safety by any company should be appreciated. I believe this is a great work prepared by NIM Company. I hope the company continues in producing other beneficial projects.” Said Dr. Esmat Muhammad Khalid, the Education Minister.
"This is a big issue and can't be solved by a simple project. There are many reckless drivers who don't care about kids' lives. If the government really wants the safety of our kids, it should appoint traffic policemen in front of every single basic school in the region," said Shoxan Rasool, a 33-old lady while taking her son to school.
Rasool also criticized the government for not building new schools far from main roads to decease car accidents. Many schools built long ago are located on main roads, leaving the youngest of students in serious danger--even if minor procedures are taken as a solution.
As part of police awareness projects, the traffic instructions have been promulgated to people through the media numer- ous times in order to keep the lives of kids and others safe.
According to Traffic Police Brigadier Abdulqadir Sidiq, the head of Media and Relations at the Kurdistan Region Traffic Directorate, Traffic Police and the Ministry of Education are working on raising more awareness among students. "The violators are strictly punished. We try to educate the teachers of kindergartens, primary and secondary schools to teach students about traffic awareness. Personally, since 1996 I have asked that schools include traffic rules as part of their curriculum. It is never too late, even if we start such a project now." Brig. Sidiq noted that many plastic humps have been put on roads in front of every school, although he admits that this is not enough to solve the problem. "Some drivers are still careless and drive very fast and don't care about the lives of the students. We have dedicated many traffic patrols and police to check the roads and streets where school buildings are mostly located." Brig. Sidiq thinks this issue has a very negative psychological influence on every side. More traffic police should be put in front of the schools. Also, rear doors should be constructed for such school buildings. For many years, traffic instructions have been brought to people via the media, but it has never had the desired effect on people, Sidiq explained: "We need the cooperation of every side to spread more instructions--intellectuals, religious scholars, and others can help to lessen accidents involving children, students, and all people."
Cars stopped to let students cross road in an Erbil street.