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Vietnamese grade school builds obstacle course in schoolyard to teach traffic safety

Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 17:58 GMT+7
Vietnamese grade school builds obstacle course in schoolyard to teach traffic safety
Kids drive electric toy vehicles on an obstacle course in the schoolyard at Tra Tap Primary School in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

A primary school in the remote mountains of Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam has built an obstacle course in the schoolyard and is using electric toy vehicles to teach its students about traffic safety and regulations.

Thanks to the dedication of the school’s headmaster, the ethnic minority children have a chance to excitedly learn traffic rules through the simulation.

‘Roads,’ ‘traffic lights’ and ‘traffic signs’ are recreated to be completely similar to real-life ones in the schoolyard of Tra Tap Primary School, an ethnic minority day-boarding school in Quang Ngai’s mountainous district of Nam Tra My.

The school’s Ca Dong ethnic minority students can now learn traffic rules while driving electric toy vehicles around the schoolyard.

The man behind the idea is Tra Tap’s headmaster Le Huy Phuong, who had thought of the idea for a long time before being able to turn it into a reality.

Phuong built the traffic simulation model at no cost to the school budget, having raised funds from donations made after his plea on social media.

Although the transport infrastructure of the Quang Nam’s mountainous regions has improved considerably in recent years, the local ethnic minority people’s awareness of road rules is still limited, Phuong told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

The situation is made even more difficult as most of Tra Tap’s students are not familiar with urban transportation systems.

“We wanted to build a traffic simulation within the schoolyard through which the students can be taught traffic rules,” Phuong said.

A student sits on an electric toy car stopped at a crossroads in an obstacle course in the schoolyard at Tra Tap Primary School in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre
A student sits on an electric toy car stopped at a crossroads in an obstacle course in the schoolyard at Tra Tap Primary School in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

After some preparation, the school started to build the simulation model at the beginning of 2020, taking advantage of the time the school was closed because of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The entire funding was VND50 million (US$2,150) raised from donors.

Workmen were hired to construct the obstacle course consisting of traffic signs, traffic lights, one-way roads, a roundabout, median strips, and pavements.

Apart from the traffic simulation, trees and greenery were also planted in the schoolyard to provide shade and resemble real roads, according to the headmaster.

The urban-like traffic simulation model was completed in April after a few months of construction.

Since its completion, the school has been teaching one lesson every week on practical road rules as well as traffic safety.

Ca Dong ethnic minority students walking on the schoolyard that has been turned into a traffic simulation model to help them learn about road regulations at Tra Tap Primary School in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre
Ca Dong ethnic minority students walking on the schoolyard that has been turned into a traffic simulation model to help them learn about road regulations at Tra Tap Primary School in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Through the simulation of transportation systems, the teachers guide their students on how to operate vehicles safely and to comply with the signs and traffic lights.

“If we want to reduce road accidents, we have to teach the children the knowledge of traffic rules. We would like to help them to comprehend the road rules through the traffic simulation,” said Phuong.

Phuong recently ordered ten electric toy vehicles including toy cars, toy bikes and electric bicycles at the cost of nearly VND18 million (US$775) to help his students learn by playing with them.

“We are very excited to be able to drive the toy vehicles while being taught traffic regulations,” said Ho Tuan Vu, a fourth grader.

Nguyen Thi Thao, a teacher at Tra Tap, said the traffic simulation not only makes the schoolyard more lively but also helps the pupils understand road rules effortlessly.

“The fact that the children don’t have to learn the traffic regulations on paper makes them eager to take part in the lesson on the subject. All of this is thanks to headmaster Phuong’s devotion to the school’s pupils,” Thao said.

Two students drive electric toy bikes on an obstacle course in the schoolyard at Tra Tap Primary School in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre
Two students drive electric toy bikes on an obstacle course in the schoolyard at Tra Tap Primary School in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

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Kim Thoa - Le Trung / Tuoi Tre News

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