Monday, 18 February 2013

2,000 await driving tests as schools toil to set up system

OPADIJO JELILI

DOHA ABOUT 2,000 trainees at various driving schools in the country are unable to apply for licence as the schools scramble to implement computer-based theory test ordered by the Traffic Department of the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

Enquiries by Qatar Tribune revealed that most of the aspirants have completed their mandatory practical sessions but remain on the test waiting lists as the schools are yet to complete the installation of the computer system to activate the new process.

The ministry recently introduced the compulsory computerised test in place of paperbased theory test purportedly to evaluate the trainees knowledge of traffic rules and practices, and thus promote safe driving.

Commenting on the issue, Assistant Training and Development Manager at Al Khebra Driving School Munir Muhawish said, “The ministry has mandated all driving schools to provide interactive computer system for the theory part of the driving test. Hence, the officials of the traffic department have stopped the test for the applicants until we all have the new computerised system in place.

“This decision has led to the piling up of the candidates on the waiting lists. We currently have more than 500 people waiting to take the theory test either before they can go for the road test or to commence their practical training sessions.” Muhawish, however, said that his school had met all the requirements but is waiting for the inspectors from the ministry to give a nod to the commencement of the test.

“We acknowledge the frustration the temporary embargo on test may be causing to our trainees, especially those in urgent need of their driving licences. We have installed 15 computers for the new procedure.

The computers have screen-touch system. I assure you that we will start the test immediately after the traffic department’s go ahead signal,” he said.

Explaining the benefits of the new system, Muhawish said, “The platform is based on a multi-lingual and multiplechoice question and answer method. It gives the trainees an opportunity to select their preferred language for the test.

Unlike the previous approach that was conducted only in Arabic and English, the new system comes with Arabic, English, Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, Spanish, German and French.” He said the theoretical test would cost the candidates an extra QR50 and they can proceed with the practical test or training session only after clearing this.

A student at Al Khebra Driving School, who had paid for the test last week, said his instructor told him that he might not have his test until the first week of March.

Another trainee at the school said, “I came with a plan to get my licence within 25 days of training but I have spent 29 days now without a sign of when I will get the licence. I have passed the school’s pretest screening, which is a prerequisite for the MoI major test. I hope the school gets the necesary permission from the ministry soon.

An Egyptian trainee at United Driving School said, “It’s a week since I completed my 35-day training session but till today I have no clue when I am likely to take the test.

“The test supervisor just told me that I will be contacted any time once the date is fixed. The delay is really threatening my job because procurement of the licence is a condition for me to continue with the work.”

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