Weigau: Students from the Bedouin diaspora arrived at school with camels due to lack of transportation/Mazen Abu Siyam
Hamza al-Sayed has been unable to attend school since the beginning of the school year. The reason: Hamza is a disabled child who uses a wheelchair, and the Al-Qasum Regional Council, to which he belongs, does not provide suitable transportation services for him.
The Education Ministry claims that it is funding the full budget for transportation to the Al-Qasum Council, but the council said that the budget is not enough for a shuttle vehicle with a lift (a small, open elevator designed for lifting people with mobility impairments) that can take Hamza to school.
"My son has been at home since school first," shares Hamza's father, Sayed Al Sayed. "There were no shuttles at all, and then they brought transportation that wasn't suitable for the wheelchair. We don't sleep because of it. The child waits for the shuttle every morning but it does not come. We can't take him to school, we need a special car. I contacted the council and they told us they didn't have the budget for a special vehicle." And not only Hamza suffers from the problem, dozens of other students stay at home for the same reason.
"The council doesn't have a budget for a special vehicle." Hamza Al Sayed/Courtesy of the family
What do they say?
- The Ministry of Education said: "The Ministry budgets 100% of the cost of school transportation operated by the Al-Qasum Regional Council. All requests submitted by the Al-Qasum Regional Council for transportation of special education students were discussed and approved in accordance with the tariff set by the Ministry of Finance and in accordance with Ministry of Education procedures. The responsibility for transportation belongs to the regional council and it must act as required."
- Omar Abu Asa, director of the education department of the Al-Qasum Regional Council, responded: "The address for this complaint and for 46 other children in a similar situation within the council's boundaries is the Ministry of Education. The Ministry approves only NIS 380 for transportation of a severely disabled child. No selling conveyor is willing to settle for this price. For all the inquiries we contacted, we received quotes of NIS 500 and up. We clarified this to the Ministry of Education, but they are not flexible and do not approve a higher price. Therefore, the Council cannot act contrary to the guidelines of the Ministry of Education. By the way, for communities incorporated in the eastern Negev cluster, the Ministry of Education does approve a high tariff."
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