Primary schools and junior high schools in Hyogo Prefecture have been promoting disaster prevention education to pass on the lessons learned from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (GHAE) and to help citizens cope with various types of disasters. Moreover, the Hyogo Prefectural Institute for Educational Research and In-Service Training has been developing disaster prevention education trainers in a systematic manner. In April 2002, Maiko High School established the Environment and Disaster Mitigation Course to allow students to learn and practice disaster prevention in a systematic and specialised manner. The College of Nursing Art and Science of the University of Hyogo has been conducting research and fostering experts in disaster nursing service along with the Education Center for Disaster Reduction (ECDR) by providing disaster prevention education to all students.
Disaster prevention education in Hyogo
Before the GHAE, disaster prevention education in Hyogo focused mainly on safety education for evacuation in the event of fires, earthquakes and other disasters. Educational institutions therefore were needed to provide a new type of disaster prevention education covering disaster mechanisms along with self-help and mutual-help disaster prevention knowledge based on the lessons learned from the GHAE. Another point to note was that previously there were no disaster prevention departments in any of the educational institutions in Japan. There had been no system in the country to provide disaster prevention education in a systematic manner.
A conventional type of safety education aims to help students acquire the skills and attitude necessary to protect their own lives, while raising awareness about disaster prevention. Based on the lessons from the GHAE, educational institutions in Hyogo provide disaster prevention education which fosters a sense of “coexistence” involving mutual help and volunteer spirit, to make them consider their own ideals and ways of living as human beings
In order to provide extensive disaster prevention education at schools, the “School Disaster Prevention Manual” was prepared as a guide for education activities while creating a set of supplementary materials for disaster prevention education that was suitable for kindergarten, primary and junior high school. Moreover, the Prefecture’s institute for training teachers is developing instructors for disaster prevention education since it is necessary to secure professionals to provide disaster prevention education. In addition, Maiko High School became the first high school in Japan to have a disaster prevention special course namely “Environment and Disaster Mitigation Course.”
Based on the School Disaster Management Manual, schools in Hyogo Prefecture started to prepare their disaster prevention manuals while conducting disaster prevention drills. They also utilized the disaster prevention education supplementary materials to pursue “a new type of disaster prevention education” driven mainly by instructors for disaster prevention education. A wide range of Japanese universities started to provide disaster nursing education as part of their nursing education.
Efforts to provide disaster prevention education in schools have served as opportunities to pass on disaster prevention know-how not only to students, but also to their family members via students. At the same time, disaster prevention education classes provide an opportunity to pass on the experience and lessons from the GHAE to children who have not experienced the GHAE. Moreover, disaster prevention drills jointly carried out by schools and community are enhancing their mutual relationship.
Meanwhile, students at Maiko High School’s Environment and Disaster Mitigation Course have been learning about the lessons from the GHAE including the preciousness of people’s lives and the value of mutual help with the concept of “think globally and act locally.”
Potential for replication
Since 2013, Miyagi Prefecture, affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, has been preparing disaster prevention education supplementary material. At the same time, the prefecture established a disaster manager position at each school and appointed supervising teachers of disaster prevention education at each municipality.
Even though it is not possible to have specialized teachers for disaster prevention at schools, a minimum level of disaster prevention education will be provided to students if appropriate teaching materials and curricula are available.
Information of Contact Person
Mr. Masahiko Murata – Director, Research Department
Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI)
1-5-2 Wakinohama-kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 651-0073, Japan
Tel: +81-78-262-5065 / Fax: +81-78-262-5082
Mr. Naoki Nakatsu – Chief, Disaster Management Project Planning Division,
Disaster Management & Planning Bureau,
Civil Policy Planning & Administration Department
5-10-1 Shimoyamate-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, 650-8567, Japan
Tel: +81-78-362-9870 / Fax: +81-78-362-9914