Ugandan children believe that road crashes are unavoidable and caused by “Satan.” These are findings from a study Uganda Red Cross Mbarara have done to understand the current state of road safety education in primary schools in Uganda. While the government of Uganda mandates road safety education in primary school curriculum, only some of the teachers interviewed said they had received road safety education in their teacher training, and those who had described it as very brief and too theoretical to implement. As a result, many primary school teachers felt ill prepared to support road safety education and related initiatives in their schools, and the children cite the churches and mosques as having an important role to play in the prevention of traffic crashes.
As part of a global initiative that mobilizes youth around the world to research and present possible solutions for child and youth development issues, Alliance member Uganda Red Cross Mbarara sought to understand the extent to which road safety is actually implemented in schools and to unveil current challenges and opportunities to further promote child safety on the roads.
The research team conducted focus group discussions with 12 student groups from a high-risk primary school located near a major highway, in addition to group discussions with key adults, including primary school teachers and district officials from the local traffic safety and health departments.
Some interesting findings resulted from their research.
For example, focus group discussions with the primary school students disclosed the perception that road crashes are unavoidable and caused by “Satan.” Around half of children in focus groups cited churches and mosques as having an important role to play in the prevention of traffic crashes. Most also could not give the correct answer for how to cross a road (by using the zebra crossing line). Overall, the research unveiled that the students had very limited knowledge of safe road user behavior.
Focus group discussions with the teachers and other key actors demonstrated inadequate training for teachers to effectively impart knowledge and skills to their students. For example, nearly all primary school teachers who participated in the focus group stated that they lacked confidence in teaching road safety education.
Further, teachers stated that the current primary school curriculum is too overloaded and does not accommodate extracurricular activities that could help to reinforce the safety information.
The research findings were presented to the Mbarara district authorities so that government can take decisive action to address these barriers that are preventing policy—mandated road safety education in primary schools—from being implemented properly.
Read more about Uganda Red Cross Mbarara’s research findings HERE.
Learn more about Alliance member Uganda Red Cross Mbarara by visiting their profile on the Alliance website HERE.