02. 04. 2023
Author: Jan Tichý
Traffic education for children is compulsory in every primary school. But the safety of schoolchildren on the way to school or their safety in the immediate vicinity of the school is equally important and needs to be systematically addressed.
The South Moravian Agency for Public Innovation JINAG in cooperation with the South Moravian Region and the Educational Institute for Moravia VIM has prepared a project focused on the safety of transport of children to school and transport around schools. As part of this project, we approached primary schools in the South Moravian Region and asked them to fill in a questionnaire to find out what topics are most important and most addressed by schools and their pupils.
The results of the questionnaire show that schools are particularly concerned about parking around schools, road safety and the risk of accidents involving children. At the same time, there was no school in the whole region that did not address any traffic-related issues.
School transport safety is not a new issue or project. Many cities in Europe are actively and successfully addressing it. In the Czech Republic, Prague, for example, has a good experience. And although the issue of transport safety is most pressing in large cities, it is equally important for smaller towns and villages in the region. For this reason, we at JINAG want to expand the project further.
A key aspect of future work will be to use participatory techniques to collect information from schools. Rather than simply gathering opinions, the surveys will use activities that engage schools and encourage them to share their experiences and concerns. This approach continues to prove very effective in gaining valuable insights into the challenges faced by more than just schools when it comes to ensuring safety. Along with school management, this will involve parents, the children themselves, community leaders, road managers and the police in the planning process.
"We are convinced that involving schools in the process of research and preparation of measures is crucial for a deeper understanding of the issue," says Jan Tichý, mobility specialist at JINAG. "By using participatory techniques, we gained a real insight into the issues that schools are addressing and how serious they are. This allows us to focus on the really critical issues and help improve them effectively. We are currently in the process of selecting a pilot school in the region."
It is the selection of a pilot school that is a challenging task. Nearly 150 primary schools across the region have expressed interest in the topic of safety, and about a third of them have signed up to actively participate in the pilot. The interest is greater than our agency's current capacity. Together with the pilot school, we will go through the whole process from the analysis of the issue to the implementation of concrete measures. However, the other schools will not be left without a response. "For all schools that will not be part of the selected pilot project, we are preparing a training programme focused on knowledge and experience transfer. We will offer all those interested to participate in round tables, workshops and seminars to help them further engage with the issue," adds Jan Tichý.
The project's initial research highlights the importance of ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and sustainability of children on their way to school. By working together, schools, parents and communities can develop effective strategies to address the risks children face and create a safer environment for all.