Taiwan Cooperated with Japan to Establish the International Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction Education
Taiwan and Japan have closely collaborated on the issue of disaster risk reduction education (DRRE). On May 6, 2022, continuing the activities that were held in previous years, the Ministry of Education (MOE) cooperated with the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association to set up the 2022 International Conference on School's Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Education in Practice at the GIS National Taiwan University (NTU) Convention Center. There were 300 teachers participating in the international forum virtually, and 65 teachers attended the event face-to-face. With the abundant practical experiences of DRRE, the goal of the forum was to use this exchange mechanism to broaden the horizons for DRRE relevant personnel and to exchange information between international DRRE talents.
The Deputy Director of the Department of Information and Technology Education, Mr. Ren-Jie Chiou, pointed out in the opening speech at the May 6 conference that Taiwan and Japan have a close cooperation with the promotion of DRRE, and they co-assist with reconstruction after disasters; this is regarded as a strong connection between these two countries. Issues of DRRE have been continually and closely shared between these two nations. Under the serious pandemic conditions of Covid-19, the 2022 International Conference on School's Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Education in Practice was held both online and in person, showing the value of this collaboration. In the future, Taiwan and Japan will develop further constructive conversations especially for DRRE based on this previously established foundation.
The topics of this forum had two main sections. The first section was “Japan promotes modes of DRRE from cognition and self-help to co-assistance.” The MOE invited Professor Toshitaka Katada from the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo, who is regarded as the life and soul of the Kamaishi Miracle, to explain the importance of implementing the awareness of disaster risk reduction from a young age, and how this importance indicates a love for local hometowns. In addition, in order to develop a deeper understanding of how Japanese schools promote DRRE, the MOE also invited two teachers, Mr. Nakamura Yuma and Mr. Miyake Hidenori from Nakajima Elementary School and Nakajima Junior High School from Shizuoka to share how to encourage elementary school students to start learning self-help from disasters and cultivate the ability of co-assistance when enrolling in middle schools. Furthermore, another teacher, Ms. Ishikawa Mayumi, from Shizuoka Prefectural SURUGA-SOGO High School and Fujimoto Yuma, a student representative from the non-profit organization, New Universal Act, were both invited to share how to encourage senior high school students to plan disaster prevention works by themselves.
The topic of the second section is to share “Cultivation of DRRE and recovery after disasters in Pacific Islands for indigenous people.” Dr. Pauline Chinn from the University of Hawaii and Dr. Alyssa Anderson were invited by the MOE to contribute their experiences of the roles of raising the awareness of tsunami and decreasing their risk for teachers in Hawaii and American Samoa. They also shared how to combine traditional Hawaiian cultures and languages into DRRE courses. Additionally, the MOE invited Dr. Elizabeth Maly from the International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, to share her knowledge of how interactions between schools and residential redevelopment planning could influence community development, as well as her experience of disaster museums reconstruction.
Under the serious pandemic condition of Covid-19, although experts from Japan and Hawaii could only share their profession of knowledge online in the international conference, in practice, Taiwan emphasized that the education of sound judgement rules were preferable to standard drills. Moreover, the DRRE educating strategy was to take DRRE as an attitude towards daily life, and it should be considered as an international consensus for promoting the goals of DRRE. After specialists from Taiwan, Japan and Hawaii and other participants in the forum had fully discussed the issues of DRRE, the MOE believed that the guiding principles in local DRRE would be improved with the raising of global horizons. Knowledge and skills of DRRE would be implemented in daily life and become part of life education. Last but not least, the event site was thoroughly evaluated to ensure that the epidemic prevention measures would guarantee the safety of all the attenders.