MANDEVILLE — Minister of Education, Hon Andrew Holness, says that the safe school laws being drafted, will provide for proper training of drivers of public vehicles transporting students to and from school.
The Minister made the announcement Friday April 8, at Holmwood Technical High School, Manchester.
Mr. Holness, and Minister of Finance and the Public Service and Member of Parliament for North East Manchester, Hon Audley Shaw, as well as Ministry of Education personnel, were at the school to meet family members of the three girls from the school who died in a minibus crash Thursday, and the wider school community.
“We should be able to roll out, fully, the national transportation plan for students; it will mean that buses that transport students will be governed by higher standards than normal. The people who drive those buses will have to be well trained, they will be under the safe school legislation laws regarding how students are transported in public vehicles,” Mr. Holness said.
Mr. Shaw, while bemoaning the method of transportation offered by public passenger vehicles to students, urged them to demand that the vehicles are driven at normal speed while they are on board. He called for a pilot national transportation system for students in rural Jamaica.
“We have to start with one or two pilot projects in rural Jamaica, where we bring back a decent transport system for our students. Work out the pilot and then, as time goes by, we can roll out a decent system for all of rural Jamaica,” he suggested.
“I hope that we can use this terrible tragic experience as a point of departure, as a source of inspiration to do something and say at the end of the day, we have done it in the names of these three beautiful girls that have died,” he stated.
They were on their way to school from Trelawny, the minibus they were travelling on crashed into a wall. The reported owner of the vehicle also died in the crash.
Since the accident the Ministry of Education has deployed personnel from its counseling unit to work with the parents, teachers and school community during the period of grief.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS Reporter