In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, most European governments put in place unprecedented restrictions on travel and movement, including lockdowns affecting most of the population and the closure of kindergartens and schools.
For this LEARN! Flash report ETSC asked the members of the LEARN! Expert Panel how the restrictions, and in particularly the closure of schools, affected the provision of traffic safety and mobility education in their country, their work related to it, and how they adapted to it. ETSC also asked them whether they expect certain elements introduced in response to COVID-19 restrictions to remain in place post-COVID.
The experts indicated that the traffic safety lessons and workshops at schools had to be cancelled as a result of the schools closing, with, notably, the cyclist and pedestrian exams not taking place in 2020. Moreover, the testing of new or revised material and the evaluation of existing teaching material had to be postponed as well.
Educational material on traffic safety and mobility was increasingly digitised in response to the situation, and actively promoted towards schools, teachers and parents. Several countries and organisations established digital platforms where the educational material was collected and presented. In some countries teacher training was held virtually.
While schools switched to distance learning, a distinct focus on teaching, and catching up on, the core subjects was noted in several countries, resulting in less children having received traffic safety and mobility education in 2020.
With regards to the future, a majority of the experts consider that the digitisation of traffic safety and mobility education will continue post-COVID. Several experts however expect a return to the pre-COVID situation, as for example the possibilities to digitise practice-oriented education are limited. Some experts consider a hybrid future, where in-person and digital is chosen depending on the activity – including for teacher training.
This LEARN! Flash report was published to commemorate the third UN International Day of Education, which in 2021 has as its theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’.Download the report