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Reconstruction education in Iwate Prefecture

ID番号 N37931 更新日 平成29年4月17日

Reconstruction Education in Iwate Prefecture

A number of lessons were learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami that are important to convey to the young people of Iwate today. How do we teach our students about what happened on the coast and to learn to cherish life? What do we share with our students to impress upon them the importance of making connections with the world around them, from their neighbors to the international community at large?

 

The Iwate Prefectural Board of Education has taken the lessons learned from the disaster to develop a practical curriculum for disaster prevention education. We aim to cultivate young minds to take the initiative, so that they will be able to protect themselves should a natural disaster hit. We want to increase awareness of what can be done to contribute to a safe society. We strive to raise young people who will take on the mantle of the future of Iwate.

 

By request of the Ministry of Education, a Reconstruction Education program has been developed by the Board of Education, with a curriculum that has been distilled into three educational principles: to live, to get involved, and to get prepared.

 

Lessons from the Disaster

To Live- We must cherish our life, soul, and bodily and mental health.

To Get Involved- It is important to build relationships with others, and to get involved with community development.

To Be Prepared- The disaster taught us to learn more about natural disasters, disaster risk reduction, and safety.

 

This curriculum is taught at all public schools in Iwate (elementary, junior high school, high school, and special education schools) with differences based on age level. The lesson materials are to be freely integrated with the unique situation at every school, and teacher training sessions are held by the prefecture. Materials can also be used by Parent Teacher Associations, school clubs, and student associations.

 

Real-world Examples

Nishine Junior High School in Hachimantai City (northern Iwate) is a great example of Reconstruction Education in action. Each of the three grade levels were assigned a municipality on the coast where they would participate in volunteer activities, and they visited the same area again and again during their three years in school. First-years were assigned to Rikuzentakata City, where they visited the shopping center located in temporary buildings, cleaned up and picked weeds at the temporary housing units, and interacted with local residents. Second-years went to Miyako City, where they spoke with the owner of a local ryokan (Japanese-style inn) about her experiences during the disaster, as well as cleaned up a local train station. Third-years were brought to Otsuchi Town, where they visited an evacuation shelter in the local junior high school, set up flower beds, cleaned up temporary housing units, and gave a choir performance.

 

Links with the international community

One of the lessons in the student textbooks is about the country of Serbia, which Japan gave aid to during their conflicts in the 1990s. After the earthquake and tsunami, the country came together to help out Japan who had supported it so much in the past. This teaches students about the power of friendship that spans across border and language.

 

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