Senior adults to keep kids safe on buses

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Senior adults to keep kids safe on buses

For every senior adult that private cram schools hire to help with safety control on their shuttle buses, the Gyeonggi Provincial Government will offer 1.5 million won ($1,300) in annual subsidies starting from March.

The agreement was announced Tuesday after the Gyeonggi authority signed an agreement with the Korea Labor Force Development Institute for the Aged; Safety Korea, a national campaign to root out sexual violence, domestic violence, school violence and unhealthy food; and a research center that develops educational programs for jobs in the community.

Eligible candidates will have to work in Gyeonggi, be in their 60s and earn a relevant license from the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training. They will be required to work from 2 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, earning about 700,000 won per month.

Gyeonggi’s latest measure was unveiled two days after a revised law made it compulsory for cram schools to hire someone to oversee their shuttle buses. Violators will be fined a maximum of 200,000 won.

Those hired will be required to check whether students have their seat belts on and ensure that everyone leaves the vehicle after it arrives at its final destination. They will also be tasked with monitoring whether the driver follows overall traffic safety regulations. In case of emergency, their training courses include CPR and other first aid treatment.

In a province where nearly 1.4 million residents are aged 65 or above but only 330,000 are employed, the new program is expected to boost senior employment in Gyeonggi and help them find their roles in society.

The job itself comes at a critical time in Korea, when some education institutes have been berated for their lax management of buses.

Last summer, a teacher and bus driver at a day care center in Gwangju were booked on professional negligence charges after missing roll call one day and leaving a 4-year-old boy alone in a hot vehicle for eight straight hours. When the boy was transported to a nearby hospital, his body temperature was 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit). He has yet to regain consciousness.

Just weeks later in August, a 2-year-old boy in Yeosu, South Jeolla, was killed in his day care center parking lot after a van, driven by the center’s director, backed up and hit him.

BY IM MYOUNG-SOO [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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