1 North-West University (SOUTH AFRICA)
2 University of Pretoria (SOUTH AFRICA)
3 South Africa National Roads Agency (SOC) Ltd. (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Page: 118 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1026
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
South Africa as a middle-income country faces challenges in addressing the past injustices and continuing inequalities which characterise its society. Being a safe road user does not come naturally especially with aggravating circumstances such as high poverty levels. This longitudinal research study (over a three year period) focussed on determining the road safety behaviour of learners in the five selected sites situated throughout South Africa. The objective was to determine a baseline and specific indicators for road safety behaviour with the aim to influence the continuous assessment policy statement (CAPS) used to determine the content for educating learners at school level.
For all 3 years a mixed method approach, combining qualitative and quantitative methods, was used. Diverse research teams played a computer-based simulation game with 2453 learners from 30 schools. The simulation game included activities related to passenger and pedestrian behaviour and specific learning outcomes and structured engagement with learners were crucial to ensure that all dimensions of the Theory of Planned Behaviour that were used (namely attitude towards behaviour, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control) could be measured.

Specific recommendations that emanate from the research pertaining to learner behaviour include:
- Road safety education should be contextually specific with emphasis placed on the lived lives of learners. What they are able to associate with, they will be able to understand and internalise.
- Road safety material should be authentic and engage the attention of learners. It remains very difficult for learners to translate their knowledge into behaviour if their real-life situations are not part of the exercise.
- Since academic literacy and language proficiency levels are relatively low in rural schools, learners should be provided with books and even games which they can take home and play there – learning should not be restricted to the classroom alone.

The findings confirm that in road safety education, attention should be paid not only the role played by educators and learners, but also the influence of the community in determining what learners finds socially acceptable behaviour. In general great consideration should be given to the specific context within which learners live their lives. If what they are taught do not correlate with their own experiences it becomes very difficult for them to internalise the teaching and gained knowledge. The education of learners at an early age to be safe road users is critical in South Africa due to the high numbers of learners, particularly in rural areas, that use walking as their only transport mode. The involvement of parents in the education also needs attention to reinforce what is learnt at school. Apart from the methodology used, the paper will describe the manner in which the research has influenced the curriculation of road safety education for primary school learners in South Africa.
Road safety education, South Africa, Theory of Planned Behaviour.