UN agencies launch standards for schools

Health Watch

TWO United Nations agencies have launched the global standards for health-promoting schools – a resource package for schools to improve the health and well-being of the 1.9 billion school-aged children and adolescents.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are responding to the closure of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic causing severe disruptions to education.
An estimated 365 million primary school students went without school meals and significantly increased rates of stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.
“Schools play a vital role in the well-being of students, families and their communities, and the link between education and health has never been more evident,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“These global standards are designed to create schools that nurture education and health, and that equip students with the knowledge and skills for their future health and well-being, employability and life prospects.”
Based on a set of eight global standards, the resource package aims to ensure all schools promote life skills, cognitive and socio-emotional skills and healthy lifestyles for all learners.
The global standards will be piloted in Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Paraguay.
Unesco director-general Audrey Azouley said: “Education and health are inter-dependent basic human rights for all, at the core of any human right, and essential to social and economic development.
“A school that is not health-promoting is no longer justifiable and acceptable.”