In its endeavour to promote road safety awareness, Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund last week launched a Traffic Safety Club at Ikhutseng Primary School in Francistown targeting primary school students. Through this club, students are engaged in practical road traffic education.
Welcoming participants at the event, the Head teacher, Christopher Ditirwa said the launch is very crucial as their school is adjacent to the city centre where there is heavy traffic on a vdaily basis. “Our learners do cross the roads to and fro home on a daily basis. This is a threat as already some of our students fell victim to road accidents.”
Ditirwa said in their school they do not only pride themselves with excellence in academic performance only, but prioritise the safety of their students. Giving a keynote address, the Branch Manager of MVA Fund Francistown, Kite Nkala said although education is centred on classroom teaching and learning, it is very crucial to introduce practical components to complement and reinforce classroom teaching and learning. He said this could be achieved by introducing Traffic Safety clubs. “Traffic safety clubs will provide the children with a platform of having firsthand experience in observing and interacting with traffic so as to develop lasting knowledge, skills and attitudes that contribute to safer behaviour.
To be precise, Road Safety Club programmes will provide students with the skills and instructions necessary to build a lifetime of responsible road usage,” Nkala said. He also said that Traffic Safety Clubs are sanctuaries that mould children and adolescents to be responsible road users as they would help develop knowledge and understanding of road traffic. In addition, he said these Traffic Safety Clubs help instill behavourial skills necessary to survive on the busy and callous roads. “This would also help road users to understand their own responsibilities for keeping themselves safe, knowledge of the causes and consequences of road crashes and have a responsible attitude to their own safety and the safety of others,” he said.
Nkala also said that Road Safety is an area of work that fits naturally into many topics already going on in schools. He said it can provide a vehicle for basic skills of literacy and numeracy. He added that it is pleasing to note that Traffic education is already provided in the syllabus in primary education.
“Traffic safety education is covered in the lower and upper primary school syllabus, the junior school and the senior secondary school syllabus does not embrace traffic safety. It is mainly taught at the discretion of the teacher, and students at times cover the road safety topic during their school projects. Establishment of Traffic Safety Clubs in schools will help bridge the gap and ensure continuity of traffic safety education from lower primary to senior secondary,” Nkala added.
He said that classroom work alone will not improve critical skills such as road crossing which is a huge problem in Botswana. He said there is evidence that practical training is the most effective means of improving young children’s skills and judgments as they will learn about road safety by being exposed to real traffic safety situations in a controlled and safe manner.
“Traffic Safety Clubs attempt to prepare children for the different tasks at each stage of their increasingly independent use of the road network and later as adults. It also provides lifelong benefits to the society like increased awareness and knowledge of the traffic environment. This will include appropriate survival skills necessary for the safe use of the road environment as well as behaviour and attitudes that have an influence on traffic safety,” he said.
He also said that by establishing Traffic Safety Clubs in schools, children are being prepared for the future and developing a positive and safe attitude that will benefit them for years to come as they become teenagers and ultimately adults. He said membership to the club is open to any student who has interest in traffic safety. The event was held under the theme “A safe child on the road by 2020.”