Boy’s bus death results in Abu Dhabi text alert technology

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Boy’s bus death results in Abu Dhabi text alert technology
By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Last updated: May 19, 2008, 13:29

Abu Dhabi: The case of a young boy found dead on a school bus hours after he should have arrived at school has prompted two software companies to develop systems to put parents’ minds at rest.

One tracks the location of a bus and the other sends text alerts if their child has not arrived at school.

The companies told Gulf News the death of four-year-old Aatish Shabin last month in Abu Dhabi prompted them to develop security systems, the boy had been accidentally locked inside the bus.

The ‘iMessenger,’ software developed by an Abu Dhabi-based company will enable schools to send automatic SMS messages if a child does not show up at school.

The system can send pre-set texts to notify parents of an absence or even to send school notifications, said P. H. Abdul Aziz, manager of Invent Systems & Solutions in Abu Dhabi.

It works by using a simple database, and all school staff need to do is enter the parents’ details into the system. Then if a pupil is marked absent when the register is taken, the software will find the mobile numbers and send an SMS automatically, he added.

Schools can create any number of message templates said Abdul Aziz. He said the system costs about Dh6,000.

The “school bus locator,” a system developed by a Dubai-based company offers to track the location of a school bus, its speed and how it is being driven.

The school administration will have a network connection that will allow parents to log in to the locator’s web-based software via the school’s website, said Basel Al Salah, CEO of Sekurus International.

The parents can just insert the number of the school bus to get all the details, he said.

“In real-time parents will be able to see the location of the vehicle,” he said. “Alternatively, parents can automatically receive an SMS message based on the anticipated arrival of the bus at a pre-determined destination such as home.”

“There are many schools in the UAE which have shown an interest in getting our system for their school buses,” he added. He did not quote the price of his product.

Schools told Gulf News they would consider installing such a system. “I will propose to the management that they install such a system,” said the principal of a prominent Abu Dhabi kindergarten.

Parents are also excited about the new security system. “An SMS alert is better than making calls as parents may be busy at work”, said Mohammad Mustafa Saidalavi, whose daughter is a kindergarten pupil.

Sending an SMS to both the father and mother will give them a secure feeling, he added.

Ministry: Inquiry completed

The Ministry of Education has completed its investigations into the death of a child who was locked inside a school bus for three hours.

The legal department of the ministry completed the investigations after receiving a report from Abu Dhabi Educational Zone (ADEZ), a senior official at the ministry told Gulf News.

“We have sent our conclusions to ADEZ which can take further action,” said the official at the legal department who requested anonymity.

He declined to disclose the conclusion of the investigation.