Road Safety education is mandatory for primary school children in Kyrgyzstan. They are taught the ‘rules of the road’; correct road-related terminology and what different road signs mean. But practical learning on how to safely navigate their journey to and from school is not covered.
As part of a project to raise children’s awareness as to what makes the roads around their schools dangerous, our EASST partners, Road Safety Kyrgyzstan found that concepts such as being visible at night, walking whilst distracted by mobile phones or headphones, or simply the reasons why seat belts are important were entirely new to the students they were working with.
Between March-April 2017, Road Safety Kyrgyzstan translated the EASST Road Safety Education Pack into Kyrgyz language and piloted in schools around Bishkek, reaching over 200 children aged 6-14 years old. When polled, over half of the children said that they thought their route to school was dangerous. The Education Pack therefore, which offers resources for teachers to introduce children and young people to basic road safety principles in an age-appropriate way by using simple, fun, educational activities, gave students a “new and refreshing” perspective on road safety and how to keep themselves, and others, safe as they travel to and from school. And, when combined with photographs taken from areas around the schools in which they were working, the children’s learning gained real-life context whereby they could truly understand the impact and importance of the lesson.
What’s more, from a teaching perspective Chinara Kasmambetova, Director of Road Safety Kyrgyzstan said, “The existence of relevant handouts for every topic was wonderful and easy to use. The Education Pack was easy to understand, teach, and communicate.” As part of the project, the Education Pack was presented at a meeting of Bishkek School Directors and the Education Department of Bishkek (covering 94 schools). Posters in Russian and Kyrgyz languages were printed and given out to all schools, along with a number of Education Packs. Subsequently, Road Safety Kyrgyzstan has received numerous requests to hold training in schools across the city, and even two schools outside the city limits.
The next phase of the project will make the Education Pack available online so that it is easily accessible to all, as well as to continue training and widen the coverage of schools.