School project aims to decrease road deaths

Learners from Charles Mathonsi Secondary School show their model display presentation: Mabotse Maredi, Clinton Maake, Kabelo Moagi, Lehlogonolo Moagi and Selaelo Mahasha.

LIMPOPO – The project by learners from Charles Mathonsi Secondary School was voted one of the four finalists during the district leg of the Participatory Educational Techniques (PET) competition held in Modjadjiskloof recently.

One of the learners, Lehlogonolo Moagi, said they decided to enter the competition as their school is located along the busy R36 Tzaneen-Lydenburg road and that some of the people who are killed or seriously injured during the road accidents are school children.

“The statistics of road accidents and road fatalities grow rapidly every year, and this has become a big problem in our community. We decided to embark on the project and help in finding solutions because it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that our roads are safe. Our project strives for better roads in our community, ensures safety for all people especially pedestrians and school children, raises awareness and contributes to saving lives,” she said.

The learners conducted extensive research about education, law enforcement and engineering related issues in their community. Some of the road safety problems they identified include potholes, lack of traffic controls and insufficient resources for road safety.

As part of solutions for reducing road fatalities, they called for the installation of street and traffic lights on all major intersections, visible road markings, new road signs and provision of efficient water drainage systems. The solutions were presented in the form of a model display.

“We are deeply honoured and privileged to be part of this project. It gives us a platform to contribute in moving our country forward and also to learn how to conduct research. We used different methodology strategies such as surveys, traffic counts, questionnaires and statistics to identify the problems. We hope that this knowledge of conducting research will help to boost our performance in the classroom,” said Mabotse Maredi.

The PET is a flagship project of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and is hosted by the Department of Roads and Transport. The project invites Grace 10 and 11 learners across the country to identify road safety hazards in their communities and to develop research-based solutions.

The project also aims to change learners’ attitudes towards road safety through participatory education and to provide them with hands-on opportunities to solve their own community road safety problems. Competing schools are given two months to complete their project and deliver a written, verbal and model display presentation of the solutions they proposed in front of an audience and a panel of adjudicators.

The project is in line with the department’s road safety mandate of ensuring that all road users are safe when using the road and this is done by educating different target audiences through scholar programmes, community outreach projects and Arrive Alive campaigns.

The provincial leg of the competition will be held at Bolivia Lodge in Polokwane on August 25.

[email protected]

Neville Maakana

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