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International Bioethics Education Network

Collaborators welcome

The International Bioethics Education Network was founded in 1993.

Coordinator:
Darryl Macer, Ph.D.,
Regional Advisor on Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific,
RUSHSAP (Regional Unit for Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific),
UNESCO Bangkok, 920 Sukhumvit Road, Prakanong, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Email: d.macer(at)unescobkk.org
 

English listserve <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Bioethicseducation/>

Student listserve <Bioethics_for_students@yahoogroups.com>

Collaborators should provide feedback to the project to help develop more and better materials. We are thankful to the institutions already part of the project and are seeking more!


One of the recent projects was under the name "Bioethics education for informed citizens across cultures" in 2003. This continues under the auspices of UNESCO Bangkok. It aims to produce teaching materials for bioethics education in different countries. This included teaching materials in different languages that can be used in school and university classes to teach about bioethical issues. It is not limited to any one particular field.

In the first year, 2003, a number of case chapters for the textbook were made, tested in classes, revised, and a textbook was printed and was retested in 2004 (under a grant from Sasagawa Peace Foundation to Eubios Ethics Institute). The compiled text/resource book has been revised since, and currently the 2006 version is available online along with the Teacher Resources and Notes reference guide, and increasing numbers of new resources. The book Cross Cultural Introduction to Bioethics is the product of a UNESCO Bangkok project in collaboration with a pre-existing grant to Eubios Ethics Institute, and is the result of critical review and evaluation of trials held in ten (plus) countries held at the UNESCO Bangkok Bioethics Roundtable in September 2005. 

The material collected also assesses the possible criteria that could be used to measure the success of bioethics education, through meeting goals agreed in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Conference on Bioethics Education Action Plan (available in multiple languages).

In 2008 a book on Moral games for teaching bioethics was published (pdf file here / cover here).

There are also ongoing projects in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific School of Ethics examining the effectiveness of different forms of education for making mature citizens.


All forms of education, whether they be teacher training, school-based or non-formal, are a key part of RUSHSAP’s strategy to achieve our mission to uphold, peace, human rights, democratic governance and tolerance.


The trials in Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam have been in both schools and universities. There were a variety of assessment methods and tape recordings of the classes made and collection of written essays and homework done by the students, which was analyzed to improve the chapter first drafts. It is now also expanding to other countries.

 The main products so far have been:
1) Production of Cross Cultural Materials, and improvement via expert meetings.
2) A text resource book that has compiled materials from many authors that can be used, adapted and translated in school and university classes to teach about bioethics.
3) A network of teachers in different countries that have tried the materials, created bioethics curricula for their local school, bioethics clubs and other endeavours.
4) Development of a joint action plan (July 2006).

5) Development of new participatory methods for teaching bioethics.
6) Research on evaluation methods for bioethics education.


There has been consensus among those involved that we can measure the success of bioethics education in several ways. Some goals of bioethics are listed in the Joint Plan of Action on Bioethics Education that was developed at a network meeting held in Seoul, July 2006 (download complete plan, 70 kB) as:

Research has shown that there are a number of goals of bioethics education including:
a) Knowledge
Development of trans-disciplinary content knowledge
Understanding the advanced biological concepts
Being able to integrate the use of scientific knowledge, facts and ethical principles and argumentation in discussing cases involving moral dilemmas;
Understanding the breadth of questions that are posed by advanced science and technology

b) Skills (capacity building in skill acquiring should be multi faceted or many sided, and the goals include)
Balancing benefits and risks of Science and Technology
Being able to undertake a risk/benefit analysis
Develop critical thinking and decision making skills and reflective processes
Develop creative thinking skills
Develop foresight ability to evade possible risks of science and technology
Skills for developing “informed choice”
The required skills to detect bias in scientific method, interpretation and presentation of research results

c) Personal moral development
Understanding better the diversity of views of different persons
Increasing respect for all forms of life
Elicit a sense of moral obligation and values including honesty and responsibility
Being able to take different viewpoints to issues including both biocentric and ecocentric worldviews rather than only anthropocentric perspectives.
Increasing respect for different people and culture, and their values
Developing scientific attitudes, reflective processes, and an ability for holistic appraisal, while not ignoring the value for reductionist analysis.
Knowledge about bias in the interpretation and presentation of research results, benefits and risks of technology and bioethical issues, and how to detect bias
Exploration of morals/values (values clarification)
Values analysis and value based utilization of our scarce natural resources

We note that many of these goals apply to ethics education and (education) development of critical thinking in general.

Suggestions are welcome.


Subject headings in the textbook Macer, DRJ., ed., "A Cross-Cultural Introduction to Bioethics" (Eubios Ethics Institute, 2006).

Preface

A. Bioethics and the Ethics of Science and Technology

B. Environmental Ethics

C.Genetics

D. Medical Ethics

E. Reproduction

F. Neuroscience

G. Social Ethics

Movie Guides and Questions


Please download the materials and adapt to your own needs. We welcome receiving more materials.

We are also involved in new projects including training of Youth Leaders in Ethics of Science and Technology, and museum displays.

 Page last updated 6 September, 2008.