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I studied at a residential school. No everyday school-bus rides for me.

When I started teaching, I was exposed to this phenomenon. Large usually packed buses were a common sight. I would cringe and wonder why it had to be like this- why couldn’t schools care more for the kids?

As Principal I realised what the situation was. High Fuel costs and large distances from school to home (especially for popular schools) made the costs prohibitive. I led a 2 day exercise in manipulating bus routes for maximum efficiency and minimum cost. We realised that if we provided comfortable transport (3 children to 2 seats designed to seat 2 adults), the buses were changed every 5 years and we paid traffic cesses as demanded by law, the cost of transportation per child per bus in the city of Kapurthala, Punjab (average one way route distance 48kms) would be Rs. 900 per month , almost what the parents paid for a months tuition!

This was considerably higher than the Rs. 425 they currently paid. Parents refused. The board refused to okay our plan.

The plan to improve the transport was abandoned and the kids continued to travel on older buses, their numbers to seat ratio making them distinctly uncomfortable.

Comfortable school-bus travel remains the preserve of high-fee private schools in the larger cities of India. Most of the rest travel in packed schoolbuses or by other vehicles like the ubiquitous cycle-rickshaw or the auto-rickshaw.

Unsafe. Inane. Tragic. Fun?

Quintessentially India.

school-rickshaw.jpg
(image courtesy: Akshay at Trivial Matters)

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Cool Cat Vicki Davis has a detailed post on The Ten Habits of Bloggers that Win.

It was written early last year (I’m late to Cool Cat’s party) but it’s simple and very useful for the starting blogger like me + it has a few tips that even the seasoned pros could use.

Quick Tips:

1. Ping. Use pingomatic.com every time you update your blog. It lets the universe (lots of it anyways) know you’ve got new news to share.

2. Add Value. Comment on articles you quote, don’t just make a collection of links.

3. Track Your Blog. I once started a company wide Six-Sigma Initiative at a large integrated chemicals plant that made soda-ash, salt and cement. There first mantra was: You can’t improve what you don’t track. It applies to blogs too. If you are a serious blogger, get a neat Stats Tracker (SiteMeter, SiteCounter or Google Analytics are nifty ones) so you know where your traffic is coming from, who is referring you, who is linking to you etc. Helps you understand your audience and take decisions on content or even publicising your blog.

There’s more in the complete article so visit it.

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