AIP Foundation and Vietnamese ministries, agencies signed the agreement for extension phase of the Slow Zones, Safe Zones programme. — Photo courtesy of AIP Foundation
PLEIKU CITY — Around the world, our community is mobilizing for the #CommitToAct Streets for Life Campaign 2022. AIP Foundation, along with its steadfast partners, is proud to join forces with this global movement from Pleiku, our model city for safe school zones in Việt Nam.
AIP Foundation is gathering with government partners, the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC), the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Transport, the Gia Lai Provincial People’s Committee, the Gia Lai Provincial Traffic Safety Committee, and relevant partners for a workshop to celebrate the milestones of the Slow Zones, Safe Zones programme thus far and kickstart the extension phase.
The overall purpose of the Slow Zones, Safe Zones programme is to reduce road crash injuries and fatalities in school zones. Our work has demonstrated that the students’ journeys to and from school become safer through implementations of traffic calming measures, reduction of posted speed limits in school zones, application of interactive learning through an e-curriculum, and public awareness campaigns combined with enforcement of new posted speed limits.
This programme, which aims to improve the safety of students’ journeys to and from schools, is supported by Fondation Botnar, the Global Road Safety Partnership, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), and the International Road Assessment Programme, and aligns with the Global Plan of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-30. Similarly, Việt Nam’s current National Road Safety Strategy supports meeting the goals of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring maximum traffic safety for school zones around the country.
“We have strong partnership with AIP Foundation and its partners to implement safe school zones in Pleiku City. For us, at the NTSC, it is crucial to ensure the safety of all the children in our country as they travel to school. We applaud and celebrate the achievements of the Slow Zones, Safe Zones programme in safeguarding both children and parents. We look forward to the continued achievements of the programme and their national application in Việt Nam,” shared Trịnh Thu Hà, Deputy Chief at the National Traffic Safety Committee.
As part of the first phase of the Slow Zones, Safe Zones programme, a traffic safety e-curriculum was developed. The e-curriculum provides an effective and creative student-centered educational tool for primary students to learn the essential traffic safety skills from a young age.
Bringing mobility equity to all students in Việt Nam, in April, Madam Ngô Thị Minh, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education and Training signed the Official Legal Decision No 946 /QD-BGDĐT to approve its use as an official school material for integrated teaching and activities on traffic safety education. From now, whichever mode of transport the students choose, they will be safer. This is the first nationwide-applied traffic safety e-curriculum for primary students in Việt Nam.
The e-curriculum and education is combined with road infrastructure upgrades. Until now, the school zone modifications – with focus on speed reduction – were completed at 31 programme schools in the city. The modifications include new pedestrian crossings, new pavements, steel railings to separate the footpath and the parking area for parents as well as road signs marking the speed limits and school zones. Based on the Star Rating for School results, all 25 surveyed schools were upgraded to 3 stars and above. 21 schools out of 25 schools were upgraded to 5 stars – the safest star.
Inspired by the modifications carried out in Pleiku, making the city a model for safe school zone in Việt Nam, AIP Foundation worked hand-in-hand with the local authorities to establish the first School Zone Definition in Việt Nam.
The School Zone Definition was developed by the Programme Technical & Strategic Steering Committee (TSSC) and was approved by the Pleiku’s People’s Committee on May 16 through the legal document 1566/UBND-QLDT. The School Zone Definition will apply to new schools and existing schools undergoing modifications in the city, providing better protection for students commuting to and from school. Further, it will positively impact the school community, and serve as a model for advocating for similar legal decisions on a provincial and national level to apply the School Zone Definition nationwide.
Building on the legacy of Slow Zones, Safe Zones so far, and sustaining its long term positive impacts, the extension will facilitate the continued reduction of injuries and fatalities on school roads, by equipping teachers with the necessary skills to scale up the traffic safety e-curriculum for primary school students nationwide, and to empower youth through the promotion of life-saving road safety skills in Pleiku City. This provides a physical, legal, and holistic approach to ensuring that every child will be safe walking toward its future.
For all students across Pleiku City, the continuation of the Slow Zones, Safe Zones programme will not only safeguard them on their commutes to school but will also ensure that all students have safe and equal access to their education. The programme has and will continue to improve road safety immensely in Pleiku while increasingly encouraging families to walk and ride their bicycles to school, paving the way for healthier and greener cities.
“This is our target. This is our regional call to action, exemplifying our government partners who are making a specific and meaningful commitment to evidence-based action aligned with the Global Plan, with a particular focus on school zone safety, 30km/h limits, and investment for road safety in their city ahead of the High-level Meeting on Global Road Safety. This is our time to #CommitToAct to make streets for life a reality across the world, for every child and adult,” shared Mr. Kim Beng Lua, Senior Officer at the Global Road Safety Partnership. — VNS