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Schools move to calm parents' fears

Picture used for illustrative purposes only. (GETTY IMAGES)

By Joseph George

At least two schools in Dubai claim they are already acting to calm parent fears stoked by the news that three men on a GEMS school bus allegedly raped a four-year old girl.

Female supervisors and security cameras are likely to be installed on all school buses.

JSS International School in Dubai yesterday confirmed to Emirates 24|7 that it has already appointed female supervisors on all but two of its fleet of 28 vehicles.

“We will be appointing two more female staff very soon,” said a senior school official. According to him the installing cameras on all buses is next.

JSS international, which has a network of 300 schools across the world has one operational school in Dubai. Its second school will become operational in April 2011.

A spokesperson for GEMS meanwhile said they are looking at the possibility of having female supervisors on buses commuting its students.

GEMS has outsourced its school bus services from School Transportation Services (STS), which owns 800 buses catering to more than 40,000 students in the UAE.

A statement from GEMS said that it has decided to introduce extra safety precautions including cameras on all its buses. “Last year the bus company installed Global Positioning Systems in all buses in order to track the movements of their buses. They also installed electronic student attendance systems in order to track students entry and exit on buses.”

GEMS also said that it was informed of the incident on January 5, 2011, although the actual incident had occurred on November 11, 2010.

GEMS has 23 schools across the UAE.

Indian High School’s Assistant Transport Manager Sandhesh said that the school currently utilises only male bus attendants and no female ones are currently on staff.

A change in the policy to take on female bus staff was not on the immediate plan; however, further details were directed to Sunil Shetty, the transport manager, who was unavailable for comment at the time.


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