Schools closed down to ease traffic chaos!
We are quite surprised to learn that in a desperate move to ease traffic congestion in the city the government has ordered all schools to close down with immediate effect. This can only be termed a knee-jerk approach to a colossal problem that required pragmatic planning to ensure solution rather than hopping from one ad-hoc or shortsighted measure to another.
When so many agencies are at the disposal of the government to deal with traffic problems, we wonder why education must be made to suffer for the failure of others. Is this where we place education in our list of priorities? Is it dispensable? There is doubt in our minds about how much the decision would help ease traffic chaos on Dhaka roads. Even if there is a whiff of relief, what good is it to get it for a week in advance since, after all, the schools and colleges are due to go on Ramadan and Eid holidays only a week or so later any way?
At what cost are we going to reduce the traffic pressure? The sudden decision to close down schools will leave teachers and students in the lurch, as they will be handicapped in completing the syllabus before the exams. One way would be to take makeup classes but that would again put extreme pressure on both teachers and students in a bid to meet exam deadlines. Usually, before long holidays, teachers brief students on unfinished syllabus and give them homework so that students can prepare well for the final examinations. But unscheduled closure would profoundly upset the normal school calendar.
The causes of traffic congestion lie in the faulty road structure, limited number of roads and unlimited number of vehicles including dilapidated ones that ply the Dhaka roads. It has been reported that there are over 70,000 unfit vehicles in Dhaka city and yet we have not heard of a single one taken off the roads. Unless and until these faults are removed, traffic snare will remain a daily affair. Therefore, sacrificing school education is no solution, rather it is a costly gimmick.