The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

University of Tsukuba

Research study for a teacher training program focused on energy and environmental education for building a sustainable society - based on the use of networking to develop energy and environment teaching materials

Activity grant

Project Description

Japan is not just poor in energy resources, its schools also lack the education on energy and environment needed to build a sustainable society. There are plans to introduce education for sustainable development (ESD) into elementary and junior high school curriculums, and enhance environmental education throughout the school system. Coverage of energy related topics will be strengthened in science lessons in particular, with content introduced at every level, such as new elementary school course units on energy usage focusing on LEDs, capacitors, photocells, and the like. However, currently there are not enough teaching materials and teachers with the necessary capabilities to implement these changes.
The goal of this project is to research teacher training programs that will fit this new paradigm. This will involve:
(1) Domestic research: making observation visits to relevant facilities, publishing research, holding workshops, and developing teaching materials on familiar subjects
(2) International research: participating in environmental education teacher training programs in the US operated by the pioneering NEED Project, and exchanging information
(3) Developing teaching materials: translating NEED materials and adapting them for lessons, and developing new materials

Energy problem
Grant year
FY2008 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
October 2008 - September 2011
Grant amount
8,012,000 yen
Activity region
Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
A workshop for current educators on energy and environmental education

Overview of the Organization

Izumi Ohtaka, Professor at the University of Tsukuba Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, and Education Program Leader
Izumi Ohtaka, Professor at the University of Tsukuba Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, and Education Program Leader
Establishment purpose
There are no single correct answers when it comes to school curriculums, but the University of Tsukuba Energy Education Reserach Committee aims to develop and promote energy and environmental education programs, and teaching tools and materials that will cultivate individuals who can make decisions on energy and environment-related issues, including the three Es, based on comprehensive consideration and judgement, and can contribute practically to acheiving a solution. It also aims to develop and promote teacher training programs that will produce teachers able to advance these programs.
Main area of activity
Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
4 full-time staff members, 14 full members
Annual operating budget
1.50 million yen in 2005, 1.50 million yen in 2006, 1.57 million yen in 2007
Recent activities
  • (1) Developing energy education programs and curriculums for elementary, junior high, and high schools. Translating and analysing American energy education curriculums and NEED materials, developing Japanese versions, and advancing practical research.
  • (2) Developing energy education teaching tools and materials
  • (3) Developing, implementing and promoting energy education training programs for current educators engaged in energy education and students planning to become teachers. Hold workshops involving experts to consider points that need revision in new curriculums and new content related to energy.
  • (4) Consider how to form social energy education partnerships that will take energy education and learning resources out of schools and into the community.