High School Teaching of Bioethics in New Zealand, Australia and Japan

Journal of Moral Education 25 (4):401-420 (1996)
Abstract
Abstract An International Bioethics Education Survey was conducted in Australia (A), Japan (J) and New Zealand (NZ) in mid?1993. National random samples of high schools were selected, and mail response questionnaires were sent to a biology (b) and a social studies (s) teacher at each school through the principals. The number of respondents and response rate were: NZb 206 (55%), NZs 96 (26%), Ab 251 (48%), As 114 (22%), Jb 560 (40%) and Js 383 (27%). This paper compares knowledge and teaching of 15 selected topics related to bioethics and biotechnology, with particular focus on the teaching of social, ethical and environmental issues of in vitro fertilisation, prenatal diagnosis, biotechnology, nuclear power, pesticides and genetic engineering. The survey found that these issues were, generally, covered more in biology classes than in social science classes; and that there were differences in coverage among the three countries, with most coverage in Australia and least in Japan. Open questions looked at images of bioethics, and the reasons why about 90% of teachers thought bioethics was needed in education. Open questions on teaching materials, current and desired are also discussed. The data suggest a need for the development of more and higher quality materials, for the moral education that is conducted, especially in biology and social studies classes
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