Education on organ donation and transplantation in primary school; teachers' support and the first results of a teaching module

PLoS One. 2017 May 22;12(5):e0178128. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178128. eCollection 2017.


Organ and tissue donation can also involve children. Because of its sensitivity, this topic requires careful decision making. Children have the ability to carefully reflect on this subject and enjoy participating in family discussions about it. Therefore, what children need is proper information. When schools are used to educate children about this subject, information about teacher support for this type of lesson along with its effects on the depth of family discussions is important.

Methods: A questionnaire was sent to all 7,542 primary schools in the Netherlands. The goal was to gather information on teachers' perspectives about a neutral lesson devoted to organ and tissue donation, and also on the best age to start giving such a lesson. The second part of our study examined the effects of a newly developed lesson among 269 primary school pupils. The school response was 23%. Of these, 70% were positive towards a lesson; best age to start was 10-11 years. Pupils reported 20% more family discussions after school education and enjoyed learning more about this topic. There is significant support in primary schools for a school lesson on organ and tissue donation. Educational programs in schools support family discussions.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Curriculum
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • School Teachers / psychology*
  • Schools
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*

Grants and funding

The digital lesson was funded by the Dutch government, Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport to MJS. Part B was supported by a grant from the Dutch Heart Foundation, Hartstichting, number 2011T001 to MJS. All funding sources had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.