Title page for ETD etd-09252010-142257

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Sentsho, Mpoye Lazarus
Email lsentsho@nwpg.gov.za
URN etd-09252010-142257
Document Title Exploring the response of rural primary school children to road safety education programmes
Degree PhD
Department Early Childhood Education
Advisor Name Title
Prof W J Fraser Co-Supervisor
Dr J C Joubert Supervisor
  • pedestrian behaviour
  • rural road environment in South Africa
  • culture of road safety
  • road safety skills
  • unsafe road use
  • road behaviour
  • primary school children’s pedestrian skills
  • road safety education
Date 2010-09-01
Availability unrestricted
This is a case study of a rural school in the Moloto area. The objective of the enquiry is to explore the responses of children to road safety input that they receive at school. Children’s experiences as road users were gathered through intensive interviews with them, their parents and teachers and corroborated by my observation of children using the Moloto road and other arterial roads in the village. The study was informed by the interpretivist paradigm.

Road safety education is part of the mainstream curriculum in South African schools but the environment for delivering it effectively is counterproductive in a school that lacks resource materials and trained teachers. The little that is taking place, as the study shows, is class-based, lacks context and focuses on teaching pedestrian skills with no practical input. The community’s unsafe road use behaviour of walking in the middle of the road and crossing the road everywhere undermines whatever road safety skills children might have learnt at home or at school.

Key findings of the study are: children’s development of pedestrian skills; children’s constructions of road safety knowledge and their value of life and road signs; the negative influence of the unsafe “road environment”; and children’s attitude to road safety. Although children theoretically know what to do when using the road, in practice they do not show safe road use behaviour. Their construction of road safety knowledge is mainly informed by the practices of the broad community. This paradox between what the literature prescribes, what the national curriculum entails and what the children apply in their everyday use of the roads is the main finding of the study.

Although children are enthusiastic about road safety education the same cannot be said about the teachers who are demoralised and not sure whether what they are doing is right or wrong. However, the children understand the value of life and the danger of using the road infrastructure recklessly even though their road use behaviour suggests otherwise.

The low level of formal education among parents and the lack of support for teachers from road safety officers do not help the situation. Effective road safety education delivery depends on a number of variables or factors. Where these conditions are not available, the whole process becomes a futile exercise.

In conclusion, road safety education can be summarised as a process with sequenced goals: The provision of information about injury risks and how to avoid them, changing attitudes towards risk and safety, and altering behaviour. Training should include the development of clearly defined pedestrian skills through guidance by a more skilled individual and practice in the road environment. Education can thus underpin both legislative and environmental measures by creating a climate of opinion that enhances a culture of safety which is not evident in the Moloto community. It will take political will and resource allocation for road safety education for any meaningful impact to be made in delivering road safety education and pedestrian skills effectively in a rural school like the Moloto primary school in Mpumalanga.

© 2010 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Sentsho, ML 2010, Exploring the response of rural primary school children to road safety education programmes, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09252010-142257 / >


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