DAMMAM – The Education Ministry has introduced a new annual school transport service fee (SR200) this academic year. It will cover about 60,000 students in the Eastern Province. The total fees will amount to SR12 million, at the rate of SR1.20 per day for each student.
Education departments all over the Kingdom have set up committees to implement the new transport system in an orderly manner as the service will be available to students who have registered with the Education Ministry’s Noor Program.
Students from poor families registered with social insurance scheme are exempted from the fee. A royal decree has been issued allowing the ministry to renew its transport contract with Tatwir Transport Company for another five years beginning from this academic year.
Saeed Al-Bahis, spokesman of the Education Department in the Eastern Province, said the new committees were formed to inform parents about the new transport system, adding that they have to apply for the service by filling a special form.
“We have to get names of schools, number of students, names of districts and the distance between the home and school and names of students who want the service. We’ll inform the beneficiaries about the mechanism for paying the fee,” Al-Bahis told Al-Yaum Arabic daily.
He disclosed plans to issue special cards shortly to students who have registered with Noor. The fee would be collected from students at the time of registration.
Meanwhile, parents of 10 schools in Naeeriya have complained that school buses have stopped taking their wards. “We were surprised to know that the transport service for our students has been stopped at the start of this academic year.”
The parents said lack of school bus service has affected studies of their children as they find it difficult to reach school on time. Parents are unable to take their students to school because they are busy with their jobs and businesses.
“This is the reason for the absence of many students at schools during the past week,” one parent said. Many of them had to cross more than 10 km to reach school. “We are ready to pay the fee of SR200,” the parent said and urged authorities to resume the service.
Another parent expressed his wonder over the implementation of the new transport system at the beginning of the new academic year without informing parents in advance.
The transport company should resume transportation of students as quickly as possible to prevent their continued absence, another parent said.