A valuable experience for students to utilize real endoscopes during a special class

In December 2022, Kaga Junior High School and Olympus partnered to create a special experiential class for second-year junior high school students at their school in Itabashi, Tokyo.

In one corner of the classroom an endoscopy system was setup, a videoscope to observe inside the body. One of the students held the endoscope gently in their hand with a nervous look and remarked, "It's lighter than I thought!" The students were amazed as they got to interact with the endoscopes that are normally handled only by healthcare professionals.

Providing cancer and science education for the consideration of future careers of the next generation

The Government of Japan promotes cancer education aiming to deepen the awareness of the importance of health and wellbeing through the understanding of the disease and its patients. The MEXT Curriculum Guideline in Japan was revised in 2019 and cancer education has become compulsory in junior high schools and high schools. Cancer education provides students with knowledge about cancer, which affects one in two people in Japan. However, challenges in the education field include securing external lecturers, such as doctors, to conduct the lessons and realize a plan that is both accessible while providing a broad range of knowledge.

Olympus offers endoscope classes to help students expand their learning opportunities. In cooperation with local Boards of Education, Olympus brings its medical expertise to provide classes which cover the history of endoscopes, basic knowledge of medical technologies, and hands-on endoscopy experiences where students can observe the inside of a human model using actual endoscopes and devices for examination and treatment.

These classes began in 2016 and have since been held at many schools both inside Japan and globally and have deepened students' understanding of cancers and the importance of early detection. Chiharu Shinohara of Olympus Social Initiative, Japan commented, "We hope, that by actually interacting with real endoscopes and medical devices, students will not only develop an interest and appreciation for medicine, but will also take the opportunity to consider about their own future."

"I want to tell my family about what I learned in the class" from using an endoscope

In the class, students got to experience operating an endoscope. After receiving an explanation on how to operate the endoscope by Olympus staff, the students inserted the endoscope through the mouth of a human model and observed the esophagus and stomach.

The students watched the endoscope go inside of the body on the monitor with serious looks. Some students took notes on the polyps and endoscopic movements shown on the monitor.

One student who handled the endoscope said, "I had a hard time keeping the endoscope from hitting the wall of the esophagus. I think doctors have amazing skills."

The students also learned how to use instruments to remove foreign objects from the stomach and large intestine.

Having a real endoscope in their hands, the students were able to get a clearer picture of the tests and treatment. During the Q&A session, students asked various questions such as, "Will endoscopes continue to get slimmer?" and "Do you feel pain when undergoing endoscopic treatment?"

What did the students feel during the lesson? One student said, "My grandfather had cancer and he used to talk about endoscopes. I want to tell my family about what I learned in the class."

"It will be an experience several times greater than what could have been learned at their desks"

Akihiro Matsumoto, the school's principal said, "The students seemed to enjoy seeing and touching a real endoscope. It was an experience several times greater than what they could have learned at their desks." He says he hopes that through this lesson, the students will deepen their knowledge of cancer prevention and think about their own and their families' health.

Olympus is also developing country- and region-specific next generation education programs overseas. These programs embody Olympus' brand message "True to Life", which sits at the heart of Our Purpose of "Making people's lives healthier, safer and more fulfilling." Olympus continues to increase the number of educational programs to expand knowledge about health and medical technology and support opportunities for the future for children, who will lead the next generation.