Living with the Sun in European Schools
LIVING WITH THE SUN IN EUROPEAN SCHOOLS
The negative health effects of overexposure to the sun are a growing worldwide concern. The INTERSUN program was launched in 1993 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to study the effects of UV radiation on health, and provided WHO member states with recommendations to prevent these risks. There are many: sunburn, cataracts, and skin cancer, especially when this exposure takes place during high levels of UV radiation.
The risk is amplified by certain behaviors : tanning fashion, multiplication of outdoor activities, lack of knowledge of the solar risks, lack of use of protection means and an incorrect use of cosmetic products. In Europe, the population is facing a steady increase in skin cancer cases in recent decades. 144,000 new cases of melanoma are reported each year, a toll that has increased by 237% over the past 30 years. 27,000 melanoma deaths are also reported in 2018. In France, skin cancer (mainly melanoma) kills 1,500 people per year, with the number of new cases doubling every ten years, becoming the leading cause of cancer-related death in the 20-40 age group. The fair skin of a large part of the population constitutes an important risk factor.
Studies estimate that most solar radiation is received before the age of 18, with outdoor activities being predominant during childhood. It is therefore very important to raise awareness from early childhood on the risks related to sun exposure.
As a UNESCO club member and in collaboration with the WHO collaborating centre for solar education Sécurité Solaire (Sun Safety), Passerelles Info develops educational curricula aimed at promoting education for health and sustainable development. In particular, the programme entitled Vivre avec le Soleil (Living with the sun - LWS), dedicated to solar education, mobilises 75,000 teachers in France and elsewhere (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Canada etc.).
After various requests from foreign governments and associations in Canada, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Spain...and taking into account the WHO recommendation in the field of skin cancer and cataract prevention, Passerelles.info and Securite Solaire are considering to extend LWS to European countries. Namely, the project "Living with the Sun in European Schools" aims to study the transferability of the methodology described above. The target group of the project is primary school pupils (3-12 years old).
Passerelles.info and Securite Solaire hope to work on this project in partnership with European organizations. Within the framework of a possible partnership, two specific objectives seem to be able to be pursued through the multidisciplinary educational programme LWS:
- To carry out a solar education and prevention action in European schools
- To promote cooperation between schools from different European countries (Spain, Bulgaria, Ireland...)
TRACKS / OBJECTIVES OF A PARTNERSHIP
Objective 1: To carry out solar education and prevention initiatives in European schools
- Running the transferability study of the LWS health education programme in European schools
Two groups of classes participating in the transferability study:
- An active group, which will implement the activities. Teachers in this group will receive the guide, and their pupils will benefit from health awareness and education sessions.
Some of the teachers will be trained (active group 1) - 3 to 6 hours of training - and assisted by trainers if necessary during the implementation of the activities, and another part (active group 2) will be self-trained, without external intervention.
- A control group. Teachers and students will not benefit from training or awareness, and will not carry out activities related to the educational programme.
In France, 80% of the teachers use the guide without training, and 99% of the teachers and trainers believe that the guide is self-training: it can be interesting to see if this advantage (self-training) is verified in other countries in Europe.
- Selection of teachers who will agree to participate in the study as members of the control group and members of the active group.
- Providing compensation for teachers of the control group: e.g., provision of the LWS teachers guide the following year
- Publication of the teacher's guide in the language of each partner’s country. The guide is already translated into Bulgarian, Spanish and English
- Organization of the distribution (paper/digital support?): if the paper version is chosen, ensure the printing and distribution of the guides
- Production and distribution of UV papers
Organisation of training sessions for the active group 1
- Promotion and follow-up of the project, by setting up a web platform dedicated to the project, "mirroring" the French website http://soleil.passerelles.info/
- Assessment of the project and its results.
Pre-assessment: assessment before the start of the project to determine the state of knowledge about solar risks and behaviour in all classes (control and active groups).
Post-assessment: assessment at the end of the project to determine the state of knowledge and behavior in all classes (control and active groups), after the project has been carried out.
The assessment can take the form of questionnaires (see in page 5 to 9 the questionnaire used in France).
Objective 2: Promote cooperation between European schools
- The transferability study will be carried out on comparable samples by local teams and associations in each country
- Organisation of virtual exchanges between classes of pupils and teachers from the schools of each country
- Organisation of joint training courses
- Translation of the educational resources developed into all the languages of the countries involved for mutual enrichment
- Sharing of the results of the transferability study at European level
- Creation of a dedicated platform to ensure this coordination and exchange at all levels of the project