Growth and Jobs | Early Driver Education Can Support National Development | New

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At least one school principal is in favor of including driver education in school curricula, stressing that early learning could lead to better skills and fewer road incidents impacting the driver. national development.

Raymon Treasure, the principal of York Castle High School in St Ann, said his school has had an active driver education program since 2013. The program started with grades 1 through 3 in school, and in 2015, he extended the initiative to his high schools, including the sixth.

The program has received support from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, funded by the Professional Advancement Program.

“The teachers made their cars available and paid instructors were recruited to teach the students. All sixth graders were invited to obtain their learner’s permit and each received a learning manual. Some students were able to obtain their license thanks to the program, ”he revealed.

drivers club

When funding for the driving program was no longer available, they went on to create a drivers club.

“Students interested in driving would then be part of the club. We have a huge field, so we set up the cones for them to practice; and teachers always made their cars available, ”he said.

The program also includes basic motor vehicle maintenance, although it is now on hold due to the pandemic.

Hailing the educator’s efforts, Dael Whylie, director of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) Driving Academy, pointed out that poor driving skills and use of the road have deeply affected the country’s development.

She said the JAA is a strong advocate for implementing driver education in schools and hopes to include it in some high school curricula as well.

“Once a student reaches the legal age to acquire a provisional license, the JAA will help them acquire the license and register them for a learner-driver experience,” she revealed.

ACCIDENT STATISTICS

Referring to studies by the World Bank and the United Nations Children’s Fund, she pointed out that not only the high number of road accidents and fatalities in the country is exhausting its core workforce. work, but also overwhelms the health sector. About 60% of those killed in crashes are between 20 and 29 years old, according to national statistics, and it costs the health sector some $ 2.6 billion per year to treat injuries resulting from road crashes. .

Whylie said having the principles of defensive driving can go a long way in reducing traffic incidents, and the earlier these skills are instilled, the better.

“It refines decision making, which on our roads is essential to avoid accidents,” said Whylie.

“Therefore, our Driver Development Program, as it’s called, is all about helping people reduce the risks of driving, preparing them for dangerous situations and the mistakes of others,” she said.

She explained that the course offers both theory and practice through lessons from the Jamaican Police Force and the Island Traffic Authority.

Beyond reducing traffic accidents and incidents, Whylie emphasized that driving is a vital skill young people need to survive in a modern world.

“It’s a necessary skill that many professional functions now demand, and it prepares for upward mobility,” she commented.

She noted that despite the pandemic, the JAAs have protocols in place to ensure the safety and comfort of learners. “We understand the concerns that many people may have, given the current climate. Thus, before and after each course, the vehicle is fully disinfected. The instructor and student are required to disinfect their hands before entering the vehicle, and masks must be worn for the duration of the lesson, ”she explained.


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