Having a house or a business near a school is becoming increasingly problematic as coming to school on foot is almost unthinkable these days. Almost every student either uses a personal or a hired vehicle, creating chaos at school opening and closing times.
With most private schools located in congested areas, traffic problems are further compounded.
Rawalpindi is experiencing severe traffic problems these days as parents and van drivers park to collect students from the educational institutions situated on every road and street of the city.
Residents of Sir Syed Chowk area look at the problem getting awful day by day as they see hundreds of cars parked in the surrounding streets. They have written to school authorities asking them to call on school van drivers and parents to be more considerate, but all their efforts have gone in vain.
The owner of a bookshop across Viqarun Nisa School and College on Jehangir Road says, “The problem was highlighted after a parked car almost ran over a schoolgirl’s foot, nearly injuring her.”
Manzar Naqvi, the father of fourth grader, says, “Justifications from parents such as ‘I want to get home quickly as my other child is sick’, or van drivers saying ‘there is no other place to park my vehicle’ are just inexcusable as poor car parking creates a nuisance for others. The safety of children is a concern for everyone facing such situations on a daily basis.”
Parents and van-drivers park their vehicles in front of residents’ driveways and even in the middle of the road, which also holds up traffic, says Asad Abbas, a nearby baker.
Talibul Moula, a teacher at a private school on Tipu Road, says, “Parking problems at ‘closing bell’ time are quite serious and are getting acute with the passage of time as more private schools are popping up in every corner of the city. Also, many schools sit near T and Y-junctions of roads, which makes it even worse.”
“The safety of children should be of paramount importance. What are we teaching our children through this traffic mismanagement?” asks Hamid Taqi, a teacher at a local school.
“While I recognise the trouble caused to residents, the major concern remains the protection of children, and this problem must be dealt with sincerely,” says Alamdar Hussain, the principal of a private school on Shaheed Oun Muhammad Rizvi Road.
“Sans any concrete measures, the problem will only get worse if more schools are established in the areas, as van drivers and parents are not considerate of residents’ problems and the children’s safety,” says Hamid Hussain, a retired college professor.
“As a society, we have a duty to change our conduct for the sake of our children. Manners breed manners. We must all try and mould the society and behaviour we want our children to be part of,” said Abida Naqi, a private school principal.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2014.