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Skills development needed for instructors


DRIVING instructors…many of us have made use of one at some point during our lives. For those who weren’t plopped onto the lap of a parent or forced to take that first drive as they acquired their learner’s permit, these instructors are the first people to give us instruction behind the wheel. So why then are so many not qualified to do so? I covered a story a few years back where I discovered that over 90 percent of instructors are not qualified to be teaching the K53.

This brings me to a proposal that is currently being submitted by Ms Pat Allen, President of the South African Institute of Driving Instructors (Saidi). Allen’s goal is to have more well-trained driving instructors on our roads and I for one wholeheartedly support that notion as all of us should. The best way to effect change is to start with the youth. Generally speaking, inexperienced drivers tend to be involved in more collisions and therefore it is reasonable to assume that with better instructors will come, more adept and safer drivers.

Allen’s plan of action includes the establishment of a permanent base where instructors can receive training. Perhaps when the e-toll palaver eventually collapses, a few of those buildings could be used? After the establishment of premises Allen proposes that all driving instructors be located and offered training, which would give them official certification that would be tested on a regular basis.

The training that she proposes includes learning modules from the National Road Traffic Act, multiple vehicle code expertise as well as defensive and advanced driving and training, which will allow each driving instructor to be able to operate their own business, involving skills such as computer literacy and basic business management. Allen is also pushing for this training to be made available in a variety of languages to make it easier for all instructors.

When asked about issues that will reduce the mortality rate on our roads and the importance of properly trained instructors, Allen said, “It is absolutely imperative to reduce the road carnage. In defence of my viewpoint, I taught 25 taxi drivers in Soshanguve and Mabopane in 2010. Their Union leader at the time, Elias Moabi, said that none of the 25 men had had a crash in the past five years!

We need more dedicated people like Pat Allen, who works for this non-profit organisation. She is truly passionate about road safety and works tirelessly to try and have important driving instructor-related issues resolved.  “This has thrilled me like nothing else. If that is what can happen in three Sunday mornings at their community centre, then the possibilities are endless,” she said, when commenting on the effectiveness of the training that she provided to those taxi drivers.

The question is, will her proposal come to fruition? I hope so; we could use something like this, a centre dedicated to training those who will train the next generation of drivers in South Africa. Unfortunately, I suspect that getting government funding isn’t the easiest thing for these types of ventures.

We will keep you updated as this proposal goes through to the Department of Transport’s (DoT’s) technical committee. Do you think we need a dedicated training centre for driving instructors locally? Do share your thoughts with us.

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Photo: Newspress

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Article written by Sean Nurse
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