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Sunday 22.09.2019 | Name days: Maigurs, Mārica, Māris
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SA: pupils’ transportation – municipalities’ competition for money

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWith municipalities organizing transportation for pupils, more often than not they pick ‘one solution for all’, and picked solutions often boil down competition with neighbouring municipalities for pupils and money that follows children, not the understanding of children’s different situations and needs, as concluded by State Audit in the report on municipalities’ actions with organization of transportation for pupils.

Irrational and poorly thought out transportation forces children to spend a considerable amount of time on the road to and from schools. This impacts their health the quality of the education process. This approach leaves planning of transportation and proper care of their education on the sidelines, which is unacceptable, says State Audit.

After looking at the efficiency of pupils’ transportation, SA evaluated two main aspects – security and impact on children’s health and education process. Auditors said transportation solutions are not organized sufficiently safe, nor do they have children’s health and education process high on the list of priorities. Routes used to carry pupils often overlap with public transport routes. This is why auditors question the rationality and economic aspects of the transport system.

«Municipalities mentions security as the main argument for the way child transportation was organized. SA does not question this argument. Nevertheless, we have noticed in our audit that child safety and health is often put aside to give way to competition between municipalities for money that follows children,» explains State Auditor Elita Krūmiņa.

«There is no universal answer on how to best organize transportation of pupils. This is why every municipality should use State Audit’s self-assessment tools and search for individual solutions.»

Instead, every ten minutes or so pupils can use public transport services to get to the nearest school, spending up to an hour in a bus or tramway before getting to school. Results of the audit show that municipalities choose to send children that live there to the schools located on their territory, even if there are schools near their home and the level of education is even better than in other schools.

It is also concluded in the audit that seats of 25% of transports used to carry pupils are not fitted with seat belts. Children are often not accompanied by adults. On top of that, the number of children transported in vehicles exceeds safe restrictions.

State Audit also mentions several flaws in relation to preventive measures. It is also concluded that a proper re-planning of pupils’ transportation in four municipalities could help save at least EUR 152,000 a year. It would then be possible to divert this money to further develop education sector.


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