Road safety education curriculum for South African schools

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Tiesie de Coning

Research world-wide indicates that in countries where road safety educationis compulsory, the accident rate is relatively low and in countries whereroad safety education is partly compulsory or where there is no road safetyeducation at all the accident rate is relatively high. Road safety educationthus forms the focus in the accomplishment of traffic safety and is acontributing factor in the reduction of the death toll. A comprehensive studywas done from 1997 to 1999 in order to develop a core curriculum for roadsafety education. This paper is an attempt to spell out the value thereof.The curriculum was developed accordingly to four parallel research processes,namely: 1) Various curriculum models were studied in order to identify amodel that will form the basis of the road safety education process; 2) Thedifferent age and developmental phases as well as accompanying limitations ofthe target group were identified and specific road safety themes aimed atovercoming these limitations were selected; 3) A comparative study betweenthe curricula of 14 countries in Southern Africa and overseas were made andcommon road safety themes that feature prominent in the various curriculawere identified; and 4) Questionnaires were sent out to teachers regardingthe level of road safety education presently in schools and to parentsregarding the young road user's exposure to different traffic situations aswell as general road safety education. The above-mentioned processes wereintegrated in order to develop the core curriculum for road safety educationin South Africa. This curriculum is based on the principles of co-operation,critical thinking and social responsibility, and should empower all youngroad users to participate safely in all aspects of society. This could bestbe achieved by a national curriculum, which prides general road safetyeducation as a platform for lifelong learning and contributes to thereduction of accidents, deaths, injuries and the accompanying pain andsuffering.

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