Gunma Prefecture

Providing learning opportunities to all students, by incorporating the project into the prefectural education plan

Basic Information

  • Gunma’s sex education policies (public resources)
    • Undisclosed to the public.
  • Outline of the initiative
    • Lectures targeting students from public elementary, junior high and high schools (full-time and part-time schools).
    • Seminars targeting teachers from elementary, junior high, high schools, and special support schools.

Background

  • The project has been operational for more than 10 years. The initial focus of the project was HIV/AIDS, as can be seen in the project’s title, “sexuality and HIV/AIDS.”

Overview of activities

■ Lectures on life, sexual/reproductive health and HIV/AIDS education (hereafter referred to as the “lectures”)

Target ・Provide lectures by experts to all public elementary and junior high schools, and prefectural high schools (full-time and part-time schools). For high schools, the lecture is provided to either all students or just first-year students. It is also recommended to be offered to part-time schools and special needs school
・Conduct of lectures is set by the “Phase 2 Gunma Prefecture Education Promotion Basic Plan”, with a target of 100% of all the schools mentioned above by 2018
・For FY 2016, lectures were implemented in 80% of elementary and junior high schools and 100% of high schools
Lecturer・A request is sent to the medical association (obstetricians’ association) to identify potential lecturers. 16 lecturers have been listed up in FY 2017
・For elementary and junior high schools, lecturer information is shared among school nurses and health supervisors, who send lecturers requests
Budget・For high schools, the project is funded by the prefectural Government every two years. Budgets for major cities (Maebashi, Takasaki) are contributed by health and physical education departments, and budgets in other cities are contributed by health and prevention departments. When lectures are not funded by the prefectural Government, they are conducted at the school’s expense
・For elementary and junior high schools, normally each school funds activities themselves using PTA membership fees and so on. Sometimes other budgets are utilized, such as budgets from the prefecture’s child welfare department or municipalities
Frequency ・Once a year
Overview ・For high schools, every year implementation plans are submitted by schools in June, in response to notices sent out by the prefectural Government. The content of lectures is decided upon by lecturers and schools. After the implementation of lectures, reports are submitted by February with details on the lecturers and content covered. In case a lecture is not implemented, a request is sent to the school to carry out the lecture next year in line with prefectural policy
・For elementary and junior high schools, local education offices consolidate performance results from municipalities and report to the prefectural Government in March every year
・Although lecture content depends on lecturers and schools, junior high and high schools generally focus on scientific views on sexuality, secondary sexual characteristics, the prevention of STDs, childbirth and infertility, dating-related domestic violence, and other topics. Student participants are selected according to age. Elementary schools mainly focus on life and childbirth. Recently, new topics such as LGBT-related issues are also included in the content of lectures
・Implementation results are reported at the “School Health Council,” which is held once a year. Sometimes, the latest issues around sexual health are shared and discussed during the council meeting
Expectations for deploying external lecturers・School teachers need to give lessons based on official guidelines and textbooks. External lecturers help to complement these lessons, providing information on the latest issues and technical matters
・Lectures by external specialists also have a positive effect of stimulating interest among students

■ Teachers’ training on sexual/reproductive health and HIV/AIDS education (hereafter referred to as “training”)

Target ・School nurses, health supervisors, physical education managers, student guidance counselors, and the management from elementary, junior high, high schools and special support schools in Gunma prefecture
・300 teachers participated in FY 2016 (elementary schools). The prefectural Government requested one representative from each school, and the participation rate was 80-90%
Lecturer・Mainly external lecturers, including officers from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and health education investigators
Budget・Implemented as a prefectural project
Frequency ・Once a year (training targets elementary schools one year and junior high and high schools the next)
Overview ・Guidance is provided by MEXT, based on the handbook on the national health education

Strengths of the Initiative

  • Partnerships within the prefectural Government, as well as with external stakeholders
    • Cost sharing with other departments has been continued for more than 10 years. Additionally, the board of education and other departments collaborate with each other and share information, including through the distribution of materials used in the training on dating-related domestic violence for school nurses.
    • The “Gunma Prefecture School Health Council” includes representatives from medical associations, dental associations, and pharmaceutical associations. Participants have opportunities to receive technical advice and support from them.

Current Issues of the Initiative

  • Expanding project to elementary and junior high schools
    • Although projects for elementary and junior high schools aim to achieve the target of 100% implementation, it is challenging to increase the number of schools implementing the initiatives as the budget is not provided by the prefectural Government.
  • Selection of topics and information to be offered
    • “Sexuality and HIV/AIDS education” is considered a part of “health education.” It is difficult to determine which topics should be focused on, as issues around health education are diverse and include newly emerging issues such as LGBT-related issues, sexual crimes, internet related problems, and so on. There is a limitation on the number of issues that can be covered in lectures as well.
    • For newer issues, it is challenging to collect the latest evidence-based information.

Direction for Future Development

  • Continuation of activities
    • Gunma Prefecture will continue the project and aim to achieve the targeted number of lectures to be conducted in FY 2018.

Expectations for other stakeholders

  • Government (MEXT)
    • MEXT should continue active interventions, such as by securing funding for sexual health education and by organizing training sessions.
    • MEXT should help the Prefecture by providing information on new topics and clarifying its concrete goals and plans for education.