I recently wrote about how wonderful it would be to have fully integrated, reliable, safe public transport system in the area. It was therefore with interest that I read about the recent problems outside Fish Hoek High School.
Anyone who has ever been in the area of the high school at either the beginning or end of the school day will know exactly what is meant here. It is bedlam, with more bakkies than a builders convention (I know the road into Kommetjie isn’t great, but really is that bad that you need a vehicle that could happily trek across Africa?)
From what I understand the problem lies in the integration of the Fish Hoek middle school into the high school thus resulting in an increased number of learners. Not so.
There may well have been an increase in the number of pupils at the school but that is not where the congestion problems lie. The volume of traffic associated with the ‘school run’ is extraordinary. Traffic levels on Kommetjie Road during morning rush hour when the schools are closed are positivly civilised, compared with the wacky races during term time.
The congestion doesn’t stem from the number of pupils at the school, rather, it is completely related to the way that the children are conveyed to their daily lessons.
Environmental awareness is a big part of learning in these enlightened times, so imagine the hypocrisy of teaching children about the importance of looking after the environment only for them to be picked up by Mum in a gas guzzling four by four with 8 seats.
Here are my questions to the parents:
How many parents car pool: surely there must be several neighbourhoods in the sticks where more than one family has children at Fish Hoek’s schools?
How many teenage kids are more than capable of walking home- are we that paranoid about them getting home safely?
Would it not be better for the parents to not have to go and pick up little Johann from school, much better to stay at home with the feet up watching Days of Our Lives or Noleen or something?
I was schooled in the UK and left high school in the early 90’s. Getting picked up by your parents was a fate worse than death, you would tell them to wait ten streets away if for some reason it had to happen. I must say that I lived close enough to school to walk home, but many of my class mates lived as far away as Kommetjie (certainly Capri would have been considered close) and they would more times than not walk home. Which was amazing, considering that they got free bus passes for use on certain buses.
Now, I am not stupid, and have a daughter of my own. The prospect of her walking all the way home to Capri on her own isn’t something I would consider, but there are a multitude of alternatives.
Firstly, the parents can organize car pools to cover the school run (two terms that were not in the lexicon when I was at school, but we live in a modern world I guess).
Secondly, why isn’t there a dedicated school bus system into the outlying areas. Even if there was a small fee for the service would this not be cheaper than the amount it costs to drive to and from the school twice a day. This service could be controlled by the school, making sure that the drivers are responsible and not like the Golden Arrow formula one team.
Just imagine the stress and hassle that either of these two suggestions would remove from the daily lives of hundreds of parents throughout the deep south, not to mention the positive impact on the environment and the reduction in congestion on our roads.