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close this bookWHO Information Series on School Health - Document 3 - Violence Prevention: An Important Element of a Health-promoting School (UNESCO - WHO, 1999, 61 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFOREWORD
Open this folder and view contents1. INTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contents3. PLANNING THE INTERVENTIONS
Open this folder and view contents5. EVALUATION
View the documentANNEX 1: Declaration and Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy
View the documentANNEX 2: Examples of educational interventions for violence prevention
View the documentANNEX 3: Examples of Grade-Specific Objectives for Violence Prevention Skills
View the documentANNEX 4: Resources to help you in your health promotion and violence prevention efforts
View the documentANNEX 5: Recommended UNESCO documents and publications for the promotion of peace and prevention of violence through schools.
View the documentREFERENCES


Investments in schools are intended to yield benefits to communities, nations and individuals. Such benefits include improved social and economic development and enhanced quality of life. In many parts of the world, such investments are not achieving their full potential, despite increased enrolments and hard work by committed teachers and administrators. This document describes how educational investments can be enhanced by increasing the capacity of schools to promote health as they do learning.

The "rising waves" of conflict and violence described in this document take a tremendous toll on the health, and, subsequently the learning potential of people everywhere. Young people are often exposed to violence, as witnesses, victims and perpetrators, in all settings of their everyday life. Because children need to be healthy to take advantage of every opportunity to learn, reducing and preventing violence is necessary to help schools achieve their full potential. Schools must be places where children feel and are safe if they are to successfully increase the health and learning potential of students, staff and community members.

This document is part of a technical series on school health promotion prepared for WHO'S Global School Health Initiative, and is published jointly by WHO, UNESCO and Education International (Brussels, Belgium). WHO's Global School Health Initiative is a concerted effort by international organizations to help schools improve the health of students, staff, parents and community members. Education and health agencies are encouraged to use this document to strengthen violence prevention interventions as part of the Global School Health Initiative's goal: to help all schools become Health-Promoting Schools.

Although definitions will vary, depending on need and circumstance, a Health-Promoting School can be characterized as a school constantly strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working (see box on following page).

The extent to which each nation's schools become Health-Promoting Schools will play a significant role in determining whether the next generation is educated, healthy and better equipped to promote a culture of peace and non-violence. Education and health support and enhance each other. Neither is possible alone.

Dr. Pamela Hartigan
Department of Health Promotion
Social Change and Mental Health

Dr. Bjorn Thylefors
Director Disability/Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation
Social Change and Mental Health

Kaisa Savolainen
Department of Education for a Culture of Peace


A Health-Promoting School:

· fosters health and learning with all the measures at its disposal

· engages health and education officials, teachers, teachers' unions, students, parents, health providers and community leaders in efforts to promote health

· strives to provide a healthy environment, school health education and school health services along with school/community projects and outreach, health promotion programmes for staff, nutrition and food safety programmes, opportunities for physical education and recreation, and programmes for counselling, social support and mental health promotion

· implements policies, practices and other measures that respect an individual's well-being and dignity, provide multiple opportunities for success and advance good efforts and intentions as well as personal achievements

· strives to improve the health of school personnel, families and community members as well as students; and works with community leaders to help them facilitate community contributions to health and education

This document aims to support individuals and governments in the realization of the following declarations:

"We, the Ministers of Education, strive resolutely... to pay special attention to improving curricula, the content of textbooks, and other education materials including new technologies with a view to educating caring and responsible citizens committed to peace, human rights, democracy and sustainable development, open to other cultures, able to appreciate the value of freedom, respectful of human dignity and differences, and able to prevent conflicts or resolve them by non-violent means."

Declaration and Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy (Paris, 1995)

"Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace."

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art. 26, para. 2 (1948)

"Member States should promote, at every stage of education, an active civic training which will enable every person to gain a knowledge of the method of operation and the work of public institutions, whether local, national or international; and to participate in the cultural life of the community and in public affairs. Wherever possible, this participation should increasingly link education and action to solve problems at the local, national and international levels. Student participation in the organization of studies and of the educational establishment they are attending should itself be considered a factor in civic education and an important element in international education."

Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Paris, 1974)