RCE Okayama - 2018

“Machinaka no Furusato Kyoiku” Education of Hometown in Urban Area
Basic Information
Title of project : 
“Machinaka no Furusato Kyoiku” Education of Hometown in Urban Area
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Okayama
Contributing organization(s) : 
Okayama Municipal Korakukan High School, Okayama City, Okayama University, Okayama Municipal Social Welfare Council etc.
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Miki Konishi (Ms.)
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Okayama (Secretariat of Okayama ESD Promotion Commission)
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
The next Education Ministry Guideline will emphasize more than the current guideline the importance of improving competencies of children and students to create sustainable society in the future.
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Okayama City
Address of focal point institution for project: 
1-1-1 Daiku Kita-ku, Okayama City, 700-8544, Japan
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The area is located near Okayama Station. There are many office buildings, commercial facilities, and also cultural institutions including Okayama Castle, Korakuen Garden, art galleries and museums. The area has both old and new residential district. A green park is established along Nishigawa Irrigation Canal which flows in the urban area, and 100 different types of trees, about 380,000 trees in total, are planted.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Isolation of elderly people who live alone and children on nursery school waiting list are crucial social problem in the residential area. In the commercial area, local shops are declining because of advancement of a large commercial complex, which causes also traffic jam. Waste management is one of the environmental problems. Most young people are not much interested in local history and culture, and not interested in local issues. Besides, it is a challenge how local history and culture can be used as resource for promotion of tourism.
The efforts to create a sustainable community/society will take time until they will bear fruit. To improve environment, develop community and transform social systems, involvement of youth is essential. Okayama Municipal Korakukan High School has a crucial role to nurture youth who (will) contribute to sustainable development of Okayama City. Though, most of the students are not aware of local culture, history, natural environment and social issues in the city. To realize sustainable development, high school students must get interests in local problems, think, and take actions to achieve those issues.
This program aims to nurture people who can think about local issues which Okayama City is facing, and contribute to transforming society toward sustainable development. The students conduct issue-oriented researches based on active learning with focus on local issues. They learn about their ‘hometown’ in cooperation with local stakeholders including universities and enterprises which have expertize, knowledge and skills.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
In the period of comprehensive studies, the students in the 1st grade learn about research methods such as field work. Okayama City’s staffs are invited as guest teachers and explain situations and problems in the city. In the
2nd grade, the students are divided into groups on different themes and deepen their researches. In the 3rd grade, the results are presented.
A project called ‘Rakkan Lunch’ is integrated into a curriculum of the ‘Social Welfare Health’. Once a month, local people can enjoy lunch in the school cafeteria together with high school students. The students can hear the direct voice of elderly people, and learn their problems and needs.
In addition, an initiative called ‘Nishigawa Aquarium’ has been promoted as an extra curriculum project. The students exhibit fish and creatures in Nishigawa irrigation canal, and explain to citizens about river and also ecological linkages between river, ocean and forest.
Size of academic audience: 
More than 450 students are participating in the program and about 50 local people are involved.
The program in the period of comprehensive study provided students opportunities to learn about local issues through hands-on experiences and direct communication with local people, to think about how they can contribute to solving the problems, and take actions. This process made students get interested in Okayama City from different perspectives.
Rakkan Lunch project let students recognize personal relationships with local people. Their skills to communicate with different generations have improved, and many of the students get involved more actively as they organized the lunch several times. Some of the students made proposal to improve the service. For example, a stamp card was created to motivate local people come to the lunch again and again. The students have got more motivated to learn also in the class.
Nishigawa Aquarium Project has contributed to raising students’ awareness of natural environment, and to being more engaged in community development.
Lessons learned: 
Through utilizing local resources and collaborating with various stakeholders, students become aware of local issues, such as history, culture, social, economic and environmental problems. They improve their skills of communication and collecting necessary information. Furthermore, their competencies for logical thinking, decision making and make presentations to achieve issues are also developed.
Key messages: 
Hands-on experiences and direct communication with local people make students aware of the connection and relationship with their ‘hometown’, and think how they want to be and live now and in the future. That motivates them to take actions for creating a sustainable society.
Internal revenue sources, subsidies from Okayama ESD Promotion Commission, Fukutake Foundation, and River Foundation etc.)


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon okayamaphoto1.jpg (28.87 KB) Field work at local shopping street Okayama Municipal Korakukan High School
Image icon okayamphoto2.jpg (34.13 KB) Nishigawa Aquarium Project Okayama Municipal Korakukan High School
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level