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What the law says about school transport

By Graham Kajilwa | Published Tue, January 16th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 15th 2018 at 22:37 GMT +3
Acting Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i. [PHOTO: Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

A directive by the acting Education boss limiting the operation of school buses between 6am and 6pm contravenes the law.

A look by The Standard into what the law says on school transport paints a different picture to what Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i announced as part of the new measures to manage the transport system of learning institutions.

According to the School Regulations 2017, which bore the Traffic Amendment Act of 2017, school buses are allowed to be on the road until 10pm and not 6pm.

A motor vehicle designated for transporting children to or from school for any non-school related activity when they are in a group shall be fitted with safety belts designed to be used by children, the Act reads.

The vehicle should also be painted yellow in colour and have other signage as may be prescribed, the law adds.

“(The vehicle) shall not operate between the hours of 10pm and 5am.” 

But a directive by Dr Matiang’i given on Friday last week at the Kenya School of Government dictates different operating hours of between 6am and 6pm.

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This means school buses and vans have been deprived of five hours to operate, which are legally in the law, and if the drivers are arrested, such charges may not hold water in court.

Matiang'i gave schools until March 30 to repaint the vehicles and fit them with safety belts.

According to the law, the provisions on painting and seat belts "shall come into force within 12 months after enactment of this Act".

Considering the Act was gazetted on August 3, 2017, Matiang'i had until August 2, 2018 to enforce it.

According to the Traffic Act 2017, the CS was required to come up with regulations prescribing matters in the Act within a period not exceeding 12 months on enactment of the Act.

Matters to be prescribed include the maximum number of children that a vehicle designated for transporting them to and from school can carry, depending on the class of the vehicle, and how often vehicles ferrying children should be inspected.

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