Manama: Saudi Arabia spends more than 170 million Saudi riyals (Dh166.43 million) annually to cover the costs of transporting students with special needs.
“The ministry of education offers transportation services to 28,000 students with special needs throughout the kingdom,” Sami Al Saeed, the head of student services at the ministry, said.
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“The ministry has equipped some vans to ensure that those with mobility problems get to their special institutions or to the schools where integration prorammes have been implemented,” he told local Arabic daily Al Yawm on the sidelines of a forum on student transportation held in Riyadh.
Special care has been dedicated to ensure the highest safety standards for the vans and vehicles, he said.
A paper presented at the forum said that women teachers had 418 accidents in three years and that the average of the distance they had to travel to work was 70 kilometres.
“Most of the accidents were caused by defective tyres, speed and bad weather conditions,” Hassan Al Ahmadi, the head of Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Science and Technology Centre, said in his paper.
Around 56 per cent of the vehicles used to transport women teachers were not safe for traffic and 22 per cent suffered from wear and tear damage to their tyres, he said.
“Women teachers spend an average of 680 riyals a month on their transportation,” he said.
Solutions planned by the education ministry to address the issue included building accommodation for women teachers near their schools, the paper said.