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Art used to heighten road safety awareness

Update: May, 30/2013 - 09:54
Students of the Hung Binh Secondary School look at photographs of the traffic environment at Le Van Viet Primary School in District 9, HCM City last Sunday. —VNS Photo Gia Loc

by Gia Loc

HCM CITY (VNS)— "Can you find out which traffic rule is being broken," Nguyen Anh Quy asked his seven-year–old daughter, Nguyen Thi Hong Dao.

Dao looked intently at the photograph taken by an eighth grader of Tran Quoc Toan Secondary School in District 9, but was unable to spot anything amiss.

"Look again," Quy said, adding, "the bus is picking up passengers in the middle of road. It is not supposed to do that because it breaks the rule and is dangerous. People can get hurt, if people break the rules."

In another photograph, he showed his daughter that a woman and her son were jaywalking.

"When you cross the road, you have to use the zebra crossing and remember to wait for cars or motorbikes to stop in both directions," he told his daughter.

Quy had taken Dao to a photographic exhibition on traffic safety held in District 9's Le Van Viet Primary School last Sunday.

The photographs of various traffic violations, taken by students of secondary schools under an awareness campaign, are very useful for educating children, said 61-year-old man Dinh Hai Nam, who took part in the event together with his granddaughter, a sixth grader at the Phuoc Long Secondary School in District 9.

More than 1,500 students, parents and administrators from 12 secondary schools in District 9 attended the exhibition that displayed 45 photographs selected from more than 200 taken under the "Zooming in on Road Safety Programme."

The pilot programme was organised by the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation in co-operation with the HCM City Department of Education and Training and the City Traffic Safety Committee with sponsorship from Intel Products Viet Nam.

Twenty-four students from three secondary schools - Tang Nhon Phu B, Tran Quoc Toan and Phuoc Long in District 9 – were trained in traffic regulations and photography.

Le Anh Vu, a seventh grader with the Phuoc Long Secondary School who won the first prize in the photography contest that focused on traffic environment in the community, said that his relatives and classmates no longer ran red lights or drove their bikes recklessly after seeing his photographs.

Dang Kim Hung, deputy chief of the City Traffic Safety Committee, said the photographs were impressive and "shocking."

They showed that most of the violations were committed by adults, showing that the work of his committee has not been very effective and would need to be improved upon. Since adults and parents were role models for children, it was important that they do not set a wrong example, Hung said.

He said many useful activities in traffic safety education for students have been carried out by the Department of Education and Training in co-operation with AIP Foundation and his committee.

One of them, the "Zooming in on Road Safety" programme, should be expanded to secondary schools in the other districts, he said.

On May 23, the Department of Education and Training sent a list of student violators to various schools. There were 155 students who violated traffic safety rules in March and April. Of these, many ninth graders ran red lights and were also not old enough to drive motorbikes.

Road safety education is particularly important for secondary students because they are at the age when they walk or bike on their own to school. However, they are often careless, said Tran Thi Kim Thanh, deputy head of the department.

"We hope to equip them with road safety knowledge by integrating the subject into their studies. Zooming in on Road Safety is a creative way to reinforce the skills they have learned."

Mirjam Sidik, chief executive officer of AIP Foundation, said that Zooming in on Road Safety incorporates both art and advocacy and both are made stronger when they combine.

"As these students learn to use art to improve their communities, they grow not only as road users but as citizens," she said. — VNS

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