Recently, I checked the number of students cars and bicycles parked at Monaro High School. There were fifteen bicycles and twelve motor vehicles. This sort of tally might have been expected because our student population is becoming increasingly motorised. Five years ago there were no students driving cars to school.
Next year there will be about 240 students in Forms 5 and 6 at our school. Most of these will have their licences or will be in the process of getting their licences. In addition, some of the older students in Form 4 will be eligible to drive. Larger numbers of students will have their own cars, or will have access to their parents cars.
Our records show that this year, 26 pupils have approached the Principal for permission to drive cars to school. Some of these bring cars to school every day. No doubt more students will drive to and from school as society becomes more affluent. Of course, the great majority of our 950 students will still come to school by bus, or they will walk.
Nevertheless, our High Schools might soon resemble factories in the sense that they comprise a number of buildings surrounded by cars jammed into a restricted parking area. Parking space in our Universities is now in very short supply. Many university students have to park down side streets considerable distances from their faculty buildings. Often staff and students find it more convenient to use public transport.
Most car owners will agree that with registration, insurance, repairs and fuel, one could not expect to run a car for less than $10 a week. The cost is probably more than this. So cost might be a factor which will limit the number of students owning cars. However, in America, this does not appear to be the case and we in Australia seem to follow in Americas footsteps in such matters.
I hope that not too many students will want to drive cars to school in the near future. This will save congestion on the roads, parking space and incidentally the students money. From the point of view of finance, comfort and savety, public transport seems the best method of transport for school pupils. I hope students, and parents, continue to realise this.
T. ODwyer, B.A., Dip.Ed.