Teaching the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident to elementary school students proved to be difficult as what some textbook publishers found out. Especially if the words “atom” and “radiation” are not yet included in the curriculum guidelines for elementary students. As such, only one out of the six approved science textbooks for primary school use tackled the Fukushima accident caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Aside from the topic of nuclear radiation and atomic particles not part of the elementary student’s science curriculum, a skipped over including the accident in their books for the reason that it lacks sensitivity in doing so. “We could not deal with the issue negatively when our textbook is used in some municipalities hosting a nuclear plant,” one editor said. On the other hand, the lone textbook from Dainippon Tosho Publishing Co. which mentioned the accident, only wrote, “The earthquake off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region triggered an accident at a nuclear power plant,” and added effective use of resources as a lesson from it.
Gakko Tosho Co., one of the six textbooks publishers, tried to include the topic of radiation as background for the Fukushima accident. Editor in chief Takahiro Yano said, “We thought that if it is a science textbook, the issue should be included.” A simple explanation according to the works of Marie Curie, the Polish scientist who is recognized for some of the first research into radiation, was included, but in the simplest way an elementary student could understand. Since Curie’s water solution research is part of the elementary curriculum guidelines, the publisher tried to explain it in line with that, however, the ministry still did not deem it applicable and noted that “there is no appropriate relation with the curriculum’s guidelines,” which prompted the publisher to scrap it altogether.
[via Asahi Shimbun]
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