Tamil Nadu schools soon to have Wellness and Health Ambassadors

On 11 February 2020, UNESCO’s toolkit on School Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV) was launched by the Hon’ble Minister of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, Thiru K.A Sengottaiyan, along with the Principal Secretary (School Education), State Project Director (Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan) and Commissioner (School Education), at the Anna Centenary Library in Chennai.

The toolkit on SRGBV aims to enhance awareness among teachers and students on promoting safe and inclusive learning environments for all learners in Tamil Nadu. It toolkit is in line with UNESCO’s goal to ensure safe and equitable learning environments for all learners, as outlined in the UNESCO Strategy on Education for Health and Well-Being.

Acknowledging the significance of the issue, Ms. Sigy Thomas Vaidhyan, Commissioner of School Education said: “We are moving towards an inclusive curriculum where students are exposed to a balanced education system. Education is moving towards learning outcomes and this programme will ensure a more holistic and well-rounded experience for students”

“As part of the School Health programme, every school in the state of Tamil Nadu will have two teachers designated as “health and wellness Ambassadors” and they will conduct sessions among classes VI, VII, VIII, IX and XI”, explained Sarita Jadav, UNESCO New Delhi National Programme Officer. “At the state level, a pool of trained Key resource persons (KRPs) will act as master trainers train teachers in the district, block and school level. The KRPs will also help in orienting principals of schools so that there is full ownership and commitment at all levels”, she further added.

Statistics from UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report show that the attainment of higher levels of education among mothers improves children’s nutrition and vaccination rates, while reducing preventable child deaths, maternal mortality and HIV. Thus, the importance of sharing information on health and well-being is imperative in every community. Knowledge to prevent diseases and sickness is vital if people are to lead healthy and productive lives.

On 11 June 2019, an Agreement of Co-operation was signed between the School Education Department, Government of Tamil Nadu (India) and UNESCO New Delhi, for advancing health and well-being of adolescents in upper primary, secondary and senior secondary schools in Tamil Nadu. The School Education Department, Government of Tamil Nadu had earmarked USD 2.3 million (INR 16 Crore) for implementation of this Comprehensive School Health Programme.

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