Since September 2021, Kagawa University has been implementing the “Development project for hygiene education and school health room system in Cambodia”, as an “EDU-Port Japan Research Project”. In February 2020, Kagawa University provided the Cambodian government with technical assistance concerning a school health room system, hygiene education and school health textbooks. This project aims to promote those, as well as to upgrade a school health check data management system and to train school health education researchers.
EDU-Port Japan is planning to develop “School Visit System” to support overseas educators wishing to visit schools in Japan who are introduced by EDU-Port Japan’s platform members. In this instance, we provided support for the arrangement of the visit in Japan by the deputy director and the staff of the Department of School Health of MoEYS of Cambodia. The visit included the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan (MEXT), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Minato Municipal Aoyama Elementary School in Tokyo.
■Background to the visit
As part of the research project, Kagawa University created an application, “Cambodia School Health Check Data Management System”, for centralized management of school health checkup and schoolchildren’s body measurements data in Cambodia in 2021. In September 2022, they carried out training in the use of the school health checkup data management system at an elementary school in Phnom Penh, and began a trial run of the application.
|Training in progress||Measuring waist circumference||Data input to a device|
From the 5th to the 10th of December 2022, Mr. Yung Kunthearith, Deputy Director and Mr. Suon Pileap, the staff of the Department of School Health of MoEYS, visited Japan for the purpose of understanding how school health checkup is carried out and how the data management system works in Japan, and to considering how best to conduct school health checkup and data management in Cambodia.
■Visits to MEXT, Minato Municipal Aoyama Elementary School, and JICA
On the 6th December, their first day in Japan, the visitors called at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT), where Ms. Kadono Naoko, from Health Education and Shokuiku Division, Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau, gave them an explanation of the overall picture of school health in Japan, and opinions were exchanged on the state of school health in Cambodia. Ms. Kadono expressed her opinions that “As is the case with other countries, school health in Japan was built through the accumulation of knowledge over many years. As the time goes, the challenges we have to face have also changed. In the case of Cambodia too, I think it is important that a school health system be built that has its roots in your culture and the existing relevant legal system, and that meets the current state of the children.”
After that, the visitors moved on to Minato Municipal Aoyama Elementary School. To begin with, the principal Mr. Takayama Naoya gave an overview of the school and an explanation of the school health program (organization of school health structure, annual school health program, school emergency system, etc.), after which the nursing teacher Ms. Watanabe Chinatsu explained to them the vomit disposal kit and mini first-aid kit (enabling the class teacher to deal on the spot with cases of vomiting or minor injuries) provided in each classroom. The visitors asked a number of questions, such as what the day-to-day work of a nursing teacher entails, whether she alone provided the children with health guidance, etc. After that, the principal Mr. Takayama and the nursing teacher Ms. Watanabe guided the visitors on a tour of the school health room and classrooms. The visitors showed a lot of interest in the school health room’s facilities and fixtures, and the hand-washing stations fitted with automatic faucets.
|Visit to MEXT||Tour of the school health room||With teachers at Aoyama Elementary School|
In the evening, a visit was made to JICA headquarters, where Deputy Director Mr. Yung Kunthearith enjoyed a reunion with those formerly in charge of the JICA KCCP (Knowledge Co-Creation Program) “School Health”, in which he had participated as a trainee in 2018. In addition, an exchange of opinions as held with Health Group II of the Human Development Department.
Deputy Director Mr. Yung Kunthearith and Mr. Suon Pileap offered their impressions, saying “It was a wonderful day to deepen our understanding of the school health program in Japan, starting from the policy level to the practical level. What has impressed us most is that it is possible for schools to manage a comprehensive school health program. It was interesting to see all infrastructures of school to respond the needs of school health implementation. In addition, what we found very interesting was that the principle and nursing teacher both understand all contents of school health.”
After the visit in Tokyo, the party moved on to Kagawa Prefecture. They visited the Kagawa Prefectural Board of Education and observed how the school health data management system operates at the prefectural level. They also visited at Kagawa University and learnt about school health room management and data management systems. Then, the visitors left for Cambodia on the 10th December.
The EDU-Port Japan secretariat received an opportunity to take part in this visit planned by Kagawa University, and got engaged in introducing distinctive features of Japanese education. We hope that as a result of this visit, school health in Cambodia will be further enhanced; and we would like to continue to provide indirect support for Kagawa University’s research project.