Business / Economy

Children learn traffic safety the fun way in Street Angel program

By Liu Ce (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-25 10:41

Children learn traffic safety the fun way in Street Angel program

Pupils from Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, learn the correct way of crossing the road, as part of the Street Angel road safety program. [Photo/China Daily]

Huang Weijia was excited about wearing her new outfit-a traffic policewoman's uniform.

The 9-year-old enthusiastically enjoyed pretending to direct the traffic in the middle of her school playground, as other pupils crossed the street under her guidance, and that of a real policeman.

"My classmates and I have been learning this for a week now," she said with a smile.

"I can understand what traffic police mean with their hand signals. It's interesting. I like it."

Huang's efforts were part of an expanding national program meant to raise awareness of traffic safety rules using interactive games and classes.

Over the next three months pupils like her in nine schools across Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, will be taking part in similar activities, co-organized by the Chinese Red Cross Foundation, China Traffic Safety Association and the city's Mixc One mall.

First initiated in 2013, the program, named Street Angel, has brought its message to 13 schools in China and plans to be expanded to hundreds of schools across the country.

According to the China Traffic Safety Association, traffic accidents remain the biggest killer in the country, with children the most common victims.

Its figures show 19 children are killed every day on China's roads, and four out of 10 victims of road accidents are children, most often between the ages of five and nine years old.

"No one doubts the urgent need to promote traffic safety education in this country," said Wang Jing, the association's secretary-general.

Wang said there have, in fact, been various traffic safety-focused educational initiatives run over the years, but the effect has been limited mainly because they have been sporadic rather than continuous, often lacking depth and systematic supervision.

"These children participating here are likely to be the country's future drivers responsible for creating a better traffic environment, so this program benefits the whole of society," Wang said.

Tong Li, the principal of Xinggong No 1 Primary School in Shenyang's Tiexi district, has already hosted the program, and is a great fan of what was offered to the pupils.

"Previously it was difficult to promote traffic safety education to children in school. We were short of professional knowledge and resources, and children were not interested because most of the training available just came across as boring sermons.

"But the program is different because it enables the children to learn more about traffic safety through interactive games, and the influence can also be extended to their parents."

More than 600 students in Tong's school have benefited from the program, but Xinggong No 1 is just one of around 1,000 schools in 100 cities likely to benefit in future, said Chen Luo, the project leader at the Chinese Red Cross Foundation.

"We really hope to have more people involved in the program," said Chen. "Our aim is to bring it to two million students over the next five years."

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