A tragic death outside a kindergarten has served as a reminder of the urgent need for improved safety measures.
Residents, parents and teachers alike have called for urgent action after education authorities confirmed the death of a child outside a private kindergarten in Qatar.
The tragic incident occurred on Sunday when the child, whose identity has not been disclosed, was outside the premises of the private kindergarten. It is unclear how they lost their life and details of the incident are still under investigation.
In a statement on Sunday, Qatar’s Ministry of Education extended its condolences to the grieving family and raised concerns about safety measures around schools and kindergartens in the country.
“The Ministry of Education and Higher Education mourns the death of a student in a traffic accident that occurred in front of a private kindergarten, and extends its sincere condolences to the family of the deceased student,” it said on its official X platform, formerly known as Twitter.
“The Ministry, in cooperation with the competent authorities, will take the necessary action after the results of the investigation are issued,” the statement noted.
“The Ministry affirms its keenness to adhere to applying the highest quality security and safety standards for our students, and not to tolerate any negligence in this regard.”
The incident has sparked a wave of concern among parents and residents, with many taking to social media to express their worries about the safety of children around schools and kindergartens in Qatar.
Several comments on social media highlighted the need for better organisation and traffic management in school areas.
“I have been seeing this for a long time, in front of the school, without organisation, chaos, crowding, and without sidewalks, and children walking in the middle of cars, sometimes young children..” one person said wrote on X.
“I remember that I spoke with the primary school administration and they mentioned to me that they were very concerned about that situation, and that they were waiting for the concerned authorities to take the necessary measures in terms of planning, organising, and so on,” he added, describing scenes outside one particular school as “chaotic”.
Another comment highlighted the issue of reckless driving near schools, saying: “The road is full of drivers who do not adhere to traffic rules, especially near kindergartens and schools of all kinds, violating traffic rules, speeding, lack of caution, recklessness, and negligence. This is extremely important.”
Others have expressed concern about the state of private schools in Qatar, with one person noting: “Private schools are severely neglected.”
In a bid to raise the issue to authorities, social media users taking part in the ongoing online discussion tagged the country’s Ministry of Interior and Ashghal, or the Public Works Authority which is responsible for the planning, design, procurement, construction, delivery, and asset management of all infrastructure projects and public buildings in Qatar.
Ahead of the new academic year, Ashghal confirmed the completion of improvements of roads surrounding 546 schools out of a total of 623 schools as part of its School Zone Safety Programme.
This included directional signs to alert drivers about the presence of a school, limiting the maximum speed to 30 km/h, speed humps with particular specifications to
reduce speed, bright coloured rumble strips to alert drivers about school entrances and more.
Many also suggested schools to require parents to accompany their children to kindergartens.
“We suggest to your ministry that it obliges the guardian (mother or father) to accompany his child to kindergarten himself, as is the practice in countries around the world, and not to rely on servants and drivers… I remember my friend in America whose 7-year-old child was prevented from entering school because she sent him alone with the babysitter,” one person wrote.
“I hope that the ministry will impose the harshest penalties on those who are negligent in regulating the entry and exit of cars to avoid such accidents, place speed bumps before entering and leaving the school, set speed limits by traffic authorities, and install speed monitoring cameras,” another frustrated user wrote.