Traffic safety for students is gaining priority in the Kingdom's educational landscape. Ros Soveacha, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, recently shed light on the ongoing efforts to bolster road safety education.

Following a recent agreement with Korean partners, he said the ministry, in collaboration with various other entities, has been incorporating road safety education into the curriculum since 2004.

For younger children in kindergarten, the introduction begins with basic traffic signals.

"Since 2022, we've introduced preschoolers to traffic signs, lights, and even incorporated songs, stories and conversations about traffic," he said.

Furthermore, content from supplementary textbooks, centred on traffic safety, is now integrated into the core textbooks for grades 1 to 6. Older students, from grades 7 to 9, continue to use the supplementary "Road Safety Education" textbook alongside other content.

By the time students reach grades 10 to 12, road safety education takes the form of workshops, in partnership with various organisations.

Hem Sinareth, director at the Phnom Penh municipal education department, emphasised the role of schools in this endeavour.

"We frequently invite educational institution directors for outreach meetings. Our goal is to educate students about safety, both when they're on their own and with parents," he explained.

Yet, challenges persist. Despite efforts to teach the importance of understanding traffic rules, like wearing helmets, Sinareth noted that many students have not taken the matter seriously.

In areas with high-speed traffic, schools have taken proactive measures.

"For schools situated near major roads like Road 6A and National Road No 1, we've directed principals to work with teachers and the Red Cross to install traffic signs, ensuring safer crossings for students," he said.

Kim Panha, director of the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation, stressed the broader societal implications.

"Enhancing traffic safety for our youth isn't just about preventing accidents; it's about safeguarding the future of our nation," he said.

He emphasised the collective responsibility of the community, government and society at large in protecting the younger generation.

"Join us in shielding our youth, especially from traffic mishaps. Protecting their right to life ensures they can fully contribute to society's growth," Panha added.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport on August 21 also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korean representatives to promote road safety.

This agreement sets the stage for both sides to draft proposals focused on enhancing road safety, especially within school zones, with an aim to garner support from the South Korean government.

The heart of this project lies in empowering the young.

The strategy aims to cultivate traffic safety awareness among children. Central to this will be the establishment of a traffic safety education centre.

Additionally, the project also envisions creating designated safe zones around schools to ensure children's safety. Moreover, to bolster these efforts, plans are afoot to set up a team of volunteers dedicated to assisting in road traffic safety tasks.