Road Safety Education in Schools (RSE)
Road Safety Department of Malaysia

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Each year about 1.24 million people are killed on the roads in the world and about 20 to 50 million sustain non-fatal injuries as a result of road traffic crashes. The numbers are highly skewed in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) and children and young adults are over-represented (UNICEF, 2001). Globally, road traffic crashes comprise the second leading cause of death in children 5-14 years. If effective interventions and strategies are not employed to address this issue, road traffic injuries (RTI) will continue to rise steadily and by 2020, road traffic crashes are predicted to have moved from ninth position to third position in the world ranking of burden of disease (Peden et al, 2004). Malaysia has experienced a large increase in the number of RTI and fatalities from 1982 to 1996. In 1982, there were 3,266 reported road fatalities and alarmingly rose to 6,304 in 1996. Police statistics for 2007 reported 6,282 fatalities from 363,319 road crashes. From this fatalities figure, pedestrian accounts the 3rd largest group of road user with 636 fatalities behind motorcyclists (3646) and Car driver and passengers (1228) (Royal Malaysian Police, 2008).

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Road Safety Department (RSD) proposed to the Ministry of Education to introduce the Road Safety Education (RSE) to schools in 2007 as part of the national language Bahasa Malaysia as a smart partnership which was subsequently accepted. RSE was taught progressively from Primary 1 students in 2007 to Secondary 2 students in 2013. Secondary 3 students will be taught RSE in 2014. The RSE is taught for once a week (1 period) during the Bahasa Malaysia time slot whereby students are learning a language subject using road safety contents. The main objective of the RSE is to create a new generation of road users who always make safety their main priority. The RSD wants to nurture and inculcate good road safety values in the younger generation so that this generation of road users would practice good road safety habits as part of their culture when they grow up. This initiative was specifically targeted to the young starting from 7 years of age (Primary 1) to 15 year olds (Secondary 3). By introducing RSE and changing the mind-set and behaviour of the younger generation, it is hoped that a new generation of safety cautious and law abiding road users will contribute to a reduction of road traffic crashes.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
This initiative is creative and innovative because it is able to achieve its objective without creating much additional workload for the students and teachers. This is because RSE is imbedded as part of the Bahasa Malaysia subject and not introduced as an additional subject which would not only increase the workload of the teachers and students but reduce the amount of time available for other subjects. The road safety elements are taught while students are learning grammar and expanding their vocabulary. This kills 2 birds with 1 stone. This initiative also capitalise on existing facilities (schools, teachers, students) to achieve its objectives. We didn’t have to build any additional structures or hire additional staff to carry out this programme. The RSE module was also designed to be interactive and fun to keep the students interested with colourful pictures and activities.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The RSE was first introduced in 2007 as a pilot project in a few selected schools in every state. Based on the success of the RSE, it was rolled out nationwide to all Primary 1 schools in 2008 while Primary 2 & Primary 4 syllabuses were being piloted simultaneously. In 2009, RSE for Primary 1, 2 & 4 were implemented nationwide. The Primary phase of the RSE was completed with its nationwide implementation from Primary 1 to Primary 6 in 2010. This was followed by the implementation of RSE in Secondary 1 in 2012 and Secondary 2 in 2013 while RSE in the primary level continues to be taught. RSE will be expanded to Secondary 3 in 2014. The first stage of the RSE was content development. A consultant with experience in developing a road safety module was appointed to spearhead the content development with input from various stakeholders including RSD, University Putra Malaysia (UPM), Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), Ministry of Education and others. The content needed to find a balance between learning a language while creating and increasing road safety awareness and knowledge. Once the content was finalized, a Training of Trainers (TOT) programme was embarked upon. Bahasa Malaysia teachers were selected and exposed to RSE. As this is a new element in their syllabus, there were trained and guided on how to teach RSE to their students. These selected teachers also known as Master Trainers later trained another group of teachers who will eventually return to their respective schools to train their peers on how to teach RSE. To make it easier for the teachers to teach RSE, a Teacher’s Guidebook and Teaching Aid is provided to all schools. RSD also prints and distributes RSE Activity Books for all students nationwide to practice on.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The main contributors to this initiative include the Road Safety Department, Ministry of Education, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), University Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Innovate Solutions Sdn Bhd.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
This initiative was fully funded by the Government through the Road Safety Department. The financial cost of this initiative includes the development of the RSE content, training of trainers and printing of the RSE materials (Teacher’s Guidebook, Teaching Aid and Activity Book). The Ministry of Education provided the teachers for the training while the content development involved Road Safety Department, Ministry of Education, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, University Putra Malaysia and Innovate Solutions Sdn Bhd.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The most successful output is that all Primary 1 to 6 students and Secondary 1 to 2 students in Malaysia have been exposed to RSE. They now have a higher knowledge and awareness on road safety compared to the generation before them. The Training of Trainers programme which allowed Bahasa Malaysia teachers to be exposed and trained on the teaching of RSE played a pivotal role in the effective implementation of RSE. The monitoring and evaluation done by UPM and MIROS also helped us in identifying the challenges and improving the initiative.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
University Putra Malaysia (UPM) and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) were engaged to monitor and evaluate the RSE as they are research institutions with the expertise and resources to carry out this task. The evaluation of the effectiveness of RSE implemented in schools nationwide can be split into three studies. The approaches for each of the work scope are health outcomes, knowledge and practice and observational study. I. Knowledge and Practise This study is responsible to evaluate psychological outcome of major developmental domains (knowledge and practice scores) among the primary school children. This study will be carried out for a duration period of three years. Intervention group of Children will be followed from year 1 to year 4 to look at the accumulated knowledge obtained on RSE as well changes in practice related to RSE. A time-series analysis will be applied to look at the changes among children for a period of three years on the effect of RSE. II. Health Outcome (HO) A prospective intervention-control study following children who are exposed and not exposed to RSE program for 2 years and observing whether they are involved in road traffic injuries (RTI) over the period of time. Study population will be among primary school children. Children with intervention in this study will be taken from schools where new RSE program is to be implemented. There will be matched controls from neighbouring districts with schools where program not implemented. This gives a ratio of 1:1 between intervention and control. III. Observation Study (OS) In evaluating the effectiveness of the RSE programme, this study aims to measure whether there are any positive improvements in the road safety behaviours of these school children in relation to the expected learning outcomes of the RSE modules. The observation of the children behaviour in terms of road safety practices while coming to or leaving the schools was conducted before and after implementation of the RSE modules. Observations were conducted at schools for one-hour before the school morning sessions starts and for one-hour when the school morning session ends. Enumerators who are positioned at their identified locations near the entrance and exit gates then observed and recorded the number of positive behaviours (compliance) and negative behaviours (non-compliance) into the forms using tally marks.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
There were many challenges encountered during the implementation of the RSE. i. Due to budget constraints, the training of Secondary 2 and Secondary 3 teachers could not be conducted. To overcome this problem, Secondary 1 teachers who have already attended the RSE training sessions were asked to guide their colleagues in the same school. ii. The late delivery of the RSE Activity Book for students by the contractors to a number of schools caused the teaching of RSE to be disrupted. This was rectified by planning ahead early and starting the distribution of the books at the early of the academic year. iii. Not all schools were able to complete the entire RSE module planned for the 3-month period and this will effect on the full benefit to be attained from the program. Teachers were asked to plan their teaching schedule more carefully. iv. Not all schools implemented RSE for year 6 students due to the impending national UPSR examination. This could affect the full scale benefit of the intervention. The teachers were advised to accommodate the RSE module. v. As the annual printing and delivery of RSE Activity Books to all schools nationwide consume a significant portion of the budget, work is in progress to upload the books on the internet for the respective schools to download the module. vi. There were also feedbacks that the level of difficulty for the RSE module is slightly on the higher end which makes it difficult for weaker students. This will be rectified when the module is revised again.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
For an immediate time frame evaluation student’s knowledge on road safety education was measured before and after the intervention was carried out yearly. For year 2010, with 1586 year 5 students, the students were doing reasonably well in achieving the first learning outcome on ‘Inculcating safe attitude while on the road especially when walking, cycling, and using public transport’ had a mixed response. For the second learning outcome on ‘the ability to understand the consequences for not obeying the law, regulations and instructions’, students have shown progress. On the last learning outcome for this group on ‘to identify and overcome dangerous and prepare to face unexpected situation while on the road’ the student showed a significant increase after receiving the intervention’. Next for year 6 students involving 1411 of them, all four learning outcomes were achieved with significant differences. There is a significant increase in the scores of these learning outcomes namely: ‘Ability to identify a dangerous road environment’, ‘the ability to state the importance in abiding with the road law and regulation and the consequences if not followed’, ‘able to state the influence of media on of road users’ behaviour’ and ‘to observe and practice good value when using the road’. Thus there is a significant increase on most of the learning outcome. However emphasis is needed on unachieved learning outcomes especially the ones covering on walking and crossing the road. For a short-term evaluation, observed road safety behaviour of students outside the school area-involving year 3, 5 and 6 students for year 2010 based on learning outcomes were carried out. There is a significant improvement on the overall behaviours observed among all three years 3, 5 and 6 in all schools. In comparison between years, more dosage is needed for year 6 students as overall they recorded less positive road safety behaviour as compared to year 5 and 3 students. For a medium-term evaluation, the health outcomes of the students exposed to intervention against students unexposed to intervention was carried out for two years involving more than 20,000 students from 12 districts. Results showed number of self-reported injuries involving both group of students (8-9 years old) and (10-11 years old) were lower among students whom received road safety intervention as compared to those whom did not receive the intervention. Last study from the police statistics on reported road crash casualties involving pedestrian age 7-12 for two years 2007-2009 also showed a declining trend in districts where students were exposed with the road safety education intervention as compared to unexposed districts. A further in-depth analysis showed 24.3% of pedestrian casualties among pedestrian age 7-12 in year 2007 which declined to 11.9% in year 2009 in intervention districts. During this similar period, there was an increase in pedestrian casualties age 7-12 in control districts from 20.5% in year 2007 to 22.8% in year 2009. In conclusion, road safety education is a showing a promising sign on improvement in knowledge and good road safety practice among students. This has translated to a declining trend of road casualties over the period. There are areas that need to be further improved in the module towards achieving all the outlined learning outcomes towards benefiting fully from the intervention.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
This initiative is being sustained through the commitment of the Malaysian Government to continue implementing this initiative as an effort to improve the road safety situation in the country by positively influencing the culture, behaviour and attitude of the younger generation of road users. RSE Activity Books are still being printed and delivered to all the schools until a time when the infrastructure is in place to provide RSE online. This would significantly reduce the cost of printing and delivering the books to all the schools nationwide. As there are already teachers who are trained in teaching RSE, they can guide their fellow colleagues who were not exposed to the programme even if the training of teachers by RSD is discontinued. This initiative can be replicated using the same model whereby the content can be developed using Malaysia’s module as the base and adapted to suit the respective countries. In fact, Indonesia once borrowed Malaysia’s RSE module as reference to be implemented there.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The implementation of the RSE programme required a huge amount of effort from all parties involved and it was the deep commitment, hard work, dedication and collaboration of all that RSE could be implemented so successfully. But all the sacrifice was definitely worthwhile when our younger generation of school going children are given the opportunity to be exposed to road safety, an option we did not have back then. The knowledge and exposure gained through RSE could one day make a difference between life and death. It was a humbling experience when some teachers related that their students have never seen certain vehicles or road furniture before because their schools are located deep in the interiors where it can only be assessed by boats. This kind of feedback opens up our minds to the different challenges faced by schools in implementing the RSE. These are some of the recommendations for the improvement of the RSE: i. The curriculum development of RSE must keep to the aim of increasing safety for the children when they are on the road accompanied by adults / parents. It should never increase the exposure of the children to be on their own on the road especially for children age 8 and below whom are at risk at large. ii. The RSE intervention exposure needs to be increased gradually from the current average 12 weeks. Maintaining once a week (35-40 minutes) exposure is sufficient for the time being. iii. The implementation of RSE needs to be well monitored and assured that it is fully implemented as planned. iv. Leaning outcomes with a behavioural change requires more and constant dosage to detect changes over time. v. RSE education based intervention should be supported and combined with other interventions to get a much better results in terms of traffic crash and injury reduction.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Road Safety Department of Malaysia
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Raymond Teoh Joo Han
Title:   Mr.  
Telephone/ Fax:   +603-83238010
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Galeria PjH, Level 3, Jalan P4W, Persiaran Perdana, Presint 4
Postal Code:   62100
City:   Putrajaya
State/Province:   Putrajaya

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