RCE Okayama - 2023

The Whole-Community Approach of ESD in Minan Area of Okayama City
Basic Information
Title of project : 
The Whole-Community Approach of ESD in Minan Area of Okayama City
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Okayama
Contributing organization(s) : 
Okayama University ESD Promotion Centre, Minannishi Kominkan (Community Learning Center)
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Hirohisa Iwata (Mr.)
Organizational Affiliation: 
Okayama ESD Promotion Commission (Secretariat at SDGs & ESD Promotion Division, Co-Production Bureau, Okayama City)
Hiroko Shibakawa (Dr.)
Organizational Affiliation: 
Assistant Professor at ESD Promotion Centre/UNESCO Chair in Research and Education for Sustainable Development, Faculty of Education, Okayama University
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Friday, July 7, 2023
Additional resources: 
ESD Video Learning Materials that Okayama U. ESD Promotion Centre created in 2020 in collaboration with the Minan area.
Geographical & Education Information
Okayama City
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Okayama City Office (1-1-1 Daiku, Kita-ku, Okayama City, 700-8544, Japan)
Okayama University (1-1-1 Tsushimanaka, Kita-ku, Okayama City, 700-8530, Japan)
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Okayama City is located in the southwest of Japan, in the north shore of the Seto Inland Sea, serving as a major regional transportation hub. In the modern era, it has acquired business, educational, cultural, political and administrative functions and has the facilities necessary for a comfortable lifestyle. In 2009, it was designated as one of the ordinance-designated cities with a greater authority. The city has urban, residential and rural areas with a population of roughly 720,000. It has a variety of geographic characteristics from mountains to shores with different industries such as agriculture, fishery and commerce.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
What was once a vast area of pure farmland surrounded by first-class rivers has been rapidly developed with the creation of residential areas, the construction of bypasses, and the establishment of stations. At the same time, the influx and exodus of young working class people has been rapid, and communication between old and new residents has become difficult. Many parents are raising their children in isolation, and it is necessary to create an environment in which the entire community can nurture their children. In addition, the area is prone to river flooding and liquefaction in the event of a Nankai Trough earthquake, making it a disaster prevention issue.
January, 2017
Although the importance of collaboration between schools and local communities to promote ESD is understood, in reality both schools and communities face many challenges and overcoming mutual barriers is not an easy task. Meanwhile, building the capacity of educators is one of the most pressing issues in promoting the SDGs. However, ESD is not a "school subject", and in many faculties of education in Japan, education is basically taught in the form of traditional subject-based education. So, how can a teacher without experience understand its importance and how to implement it in collaboration with the community? In this case study, a public social education institution - the Kominkan - became the nucleus of the community, and by sharing the issues with multiple stakeholders and cooperating with the Faculty of Education, which shares the ESD philosophy, a long-term perspective was formed and a positive cycle is being nurtured. Until now, Kominkans have been positioned as places for Non-Formal/Informal Education and have played important roles, but have not been sufficiently involved in teacher education. Our attempts to link social education and teacher education, highlighting the challenges and keys, can bring new ideas to the issue of teacher education for ESD.
The aim of this activity is to bring and develop the value of ESD to both schools and communities by nurturing educators with an ESD perspective through integration of teacher education and social education. With social education institutions at the centre, schools and local communities can work together and pre-service teachers learning ESD can be involved in these activities, which will raise the awareness of not only the students themselves but also the various actors in the community as leaders in the creation of a sustainable society, and will give new meaning to the activities and enable them to be developed.
More than a decade ago, with the rapid changes taking place in the area, the delinquent behaviour of the teenagers began to be noticed and the local public school became one of the roughest in the city. Many students were unable to enter the classrooms and disrupted teachers with their unruly behaviour, which was heartbreaking for the community. Since 2013, the school district has joined the ASPnet and RCE Okayama ESD project to strengthen community-supported schools. Today, more junior high school students than expected participate in local ESD activities, the schools have a new look, and the area has become one of the most popular residential areas in the city for the younger generation. University students experience these positive changes in the community and school through ESD, they develop into teachers with an ESD perspective. The local community also welcomes this kind of university involvement, and the cooperation deepens.
Lessons learned: 
As the link between social education and teacher education is still in its infancy, the capacity building of students as ESD leader-teachers is not yet complete. Moreover, their ability to promote ESD in their local communities after becoming teachers will depend on whether similar initiatives can be implemented in each region. In some other areas, ASPnet and ESD projects were started only to be abandoned when their teachers moved. Currently, an ESD sub-course is being established this year in the Faculty of Education, where more students will be able to learn from the experience of this case study, get involved in local ESD projects on a longer-term basis, conduct graduation research and use the results in teacher recruitment exams.
Key messages: 
Collaboration with local communities to promote ESD in the whole community is important in order to develop the capacity of teachers, who are key actors in building a sustainable society. We would like to propose one model for the promotion of the community-wide ESD through integration of social, school and teacher education.
When the region shown in the case studies applied for membership of ASPnet and for the project to create educational material videos for ESD, they received a UNESCO Activity Support Grant from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the Okayama City ESD Project is also providing support to various ESD projects in the community.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon better_life_minan.jpg (1.82 MB) Univ. students are participating the traditional rice cake making event for the local community H. Shibakawa
Image icon minannishi_kominkan.jpg (863.33 KB) Univ. students are participating the lecture for the parent-baby class at the Kominkan M. Wada@Minannishi Kominkan
Image icon seeds_of_life.jpg (144.38 KB) Community organization initiating ESD project gives lectures about their practice for the university students. H. Shibakawa
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: