Nassau, The Bahamas – Public Works and Transport Minister the Hon. Neko C. Grant officially opened a Driver Education Workshop on Thursday, November 11.
The purpose of the workshop was to officially introduce the driver educator instructor’s manual and the driving simulator. It is a joint venture between the Road Traffic Department and the Ministry of Education.
Mr. Grant said his Ministry recognises that schools offer children a variety of “controlled” environments where they learn, practice and are regularly reinforced in positive behaviour and the art of making “good” decisions.
“As the majority of children are enrolled in schools, we feel that schools provide a large window of access to this population. Furthermore, from a health promotion perspective, teaching road safety is consistent with improved academic achievement due to the fact that poor health, injury of disability (resulting from a traffic mishap) can disrupt learning,” said Mr. Grant.
Participants included student driver instructors from senior high schools throughout the country. Family Islands represented were Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Long Island, Inagua, Cat Island, San Salvador, Andros and Abaco.
Senior government officials in attendance included Philip Turner, controller, Road Traffic Department; Lionel Sands, director in the Ministry of Education; Colin Higgs, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport; Brad Smith, assistant controller, Road Traffic Department; Errol McPhee, coordinator of the Transport Policy and Planning Unit and other senior government officials.
Mr. Grant said his ministry has been privileged to partner with public and private schools in many road safety initiatives throughout the schools.
“We are grateful to our schools and teachers along with the Royal Bahamas Police Force and our corporate sponsors for their support of initiatives of the Road Traffic Department. Some of the initiatives include Road Safety Youth Symposium, Road Safety Speech Contest and the Driving Simulator Programme.
The programme along with other mentioned initiatives provide a wonderful opportunity for teachers, students, parents and the community to ensure that the next generation of drivers is more knowledgeable, he added.
Mr. Sands said it is critical that the driver’s education course that is taught includes courtesies that can change the attitude of young drivers.
He said it his hope that the partnership with the Department of Education and the Road Traffic Department results in all high school graduates getting the “best” in driver’s education so that students would be safe as they drive the streets.
Mr. Higgs commended the Department of Road Traffic commended for the implementation of its mandate as it relates to road safety and its partnership with the Ministry of Education. In addition to understanding the rules of the road and learning how to drive, Mr. Higgs said young people must be conscious and aware that they must drive safely and ensure the safety of all road users.
By Kathryn Campbell
Bahamas Information Services