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close this bookThe Education for All Teacher-Training Package - Volume 2 (UNDP - UNESCO, 1995, 124 p.)
close this folderTopic 11 ‘Quality of Life’ and Development Education
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UNESCO/G. Freund


The quality of human life depends on our ability to protect and enhance the environment, to control population processes such as fertility and migration, and to attain and maintain health. Basic development education is necessary for people of all ages, both in school and out of school. The present topic, therefore, seeks to examine how environmental, population and health issues can be incorporated into basic education using formal, non-formal and informal approaches.

The environment, population and health are major concerns in many countries today. Deforestation, soil erosion, dam siltation and river pollution are examples of problems whose magnitude is increasing every year. Societies need to be educated in the fragile nature of the environment and in the key physical and social principles indispensable for the proper management of natural ecosystems. In many developing countries the population continues to grow at a rate much faster than their economic growth. Outbreaks of cholera and malaria and the threatening catastrophe of AIDS serve to underscore the need for effective basic health education for all as an essential complement to efforts being made in the medical field.

In quality of life and sustainable development education the impact made by the school community as a whole is of great importance. What children learn in the classroom depends for its effectiveness on the nature of the curriculum as well as on the skids of the teachers. What is learned incidentally from being in a school community, through its ethics, policies, physical structures, regard for human relationships and dignity, should support and promote further development of what is taught in classroom lessons. The concept of a ‘health-promoting school’ embodying a comprehensive school health education Programme is an example of an approach of this kind.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this topic you should have:

reached a better understanding of how education can contribute to meeting basic learning needs related to quality of life and development issues such as environment, population and health;

explored some local examples of environment-related problems and current efforts being made to alleviate them;

explored steps that have to be taken to introduce into school curricula a dimension that embraces environment, population and health;

acquired an understanding of the interdisciplinary and innovative teaching approaches required in quality of life and development education.

This topic is divided into three modules: Environmental Education; Population Education; and Health Education, and these together will require some seven hours of study time.


Recent international meetings, notably the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and major United Nations Reports, have highlighted the interlinked challenges involved in seeking to protect the environment and in working to promote development. They have emphasized a task of crucial importance, that of handing on to future generations a world capable of promoting the natural life-enhancing beauty and the life-sustaining resources they will need. This calls for the environmental education and training of each successive generation in order to ensure widespread environmental literacy - the elementary knowledge, skills and motivation essential for people to participate in the solution and anticipation of environmental problems and for them to make their own contribution to sustainable development. People everywhere strive for a safe, clean and healthy environment, for a sustainable food supply, for the protection of nature, wildlife and genetic resources, and for a well-planned and pleasant environment, conducive to the continued improvement of each individual’s quality of life. These needs must be considered when defining the basic learning needs of a community or nation.

What contribution can environmental education make to shaping attitudes and promoting action that will help achieve the goal of sustainable development?


Five principal learning objectives for environmental education have been established internationally. They are:

building awareness of the environment and sensitivity to it in its totality, natural and built;

assimilation of appropriate and relevant knowledge about the environment;

development of attitudes of ethical concern about the environment, motivating active participation in its protection;

acquisition of skills enabling identification of solutions or anticipation of environmental problems;

active participation of all in the process of environmental education.

Divide into small groups and discuss these objectives with your co-teachers. What do they imply in your own particular teaching situation, Report your findings to the group as a whole.

Environmental Education and the Curriculum

In many countries there is concern that the introduction of environmental education into an already overloaded curriculum may place an unrealistic burden on learners and teachers alike. When this is felt to be the case, it is of special importance to ask the question: how best can education be restructured to provide education in, through and for the environment? In a number of countries, use has been made of an approach which regards environmental education not as a subject apart but as a dimension of the curriculum. There may be a need to consider regrouping traditional subjects, such as geography, history, science, civics and hygiene, so that a dimension of environmental education becomes an integral part of the school curriculum as a whole. In each national setting, key environmental concepts and issues of most immediate relevance need to be identified.


1. Working in small groups, identify some of the key issues in environmental education that need to be addressed in your country. Record your findings.

2. Discuss your findings with the other groups and try to reach agreement on which issues should be given priority in the curriculum of your school.

3. Discuss how far education in your country is leading to a sense of the vital importance of these issues and what should be done about the situation.

While in most cases the use of children’s books and teachers’ guides forms the basis of classroom teaching, there are other possibilities. Teachers and children in remote areas can benefit from distance learning by listening to radio programmes; in some cases they may also have access to television. Reading material such as children’s magazines on environment-related themes can provide inspiration for pupils and teachers alike.


1. Working in small groups, identify the resources that are accessible to you and your pupils in environmental education-both written and through the media.

2. Discuss with your co-teachers how better use might be made of these resources, particularly in relation to the key issues you identified in the previous activity.

3. Present the findings of your group to your other colleagues.

Non-formal Programmes

In all countries, non-formal programmes of environmental education can be useful. Whereas the Ministry of Education is of paramount importance in formal education, in non-formal education many other agencies and institutions can be involved. These may include the ministries responsible for environment, communication, agriculture, health, forestry and natural resources as well as a wide range of business and private bodies concerned with these matters. Various United Nations bodies may support both national and local programmes. The development of new partnerships, especially with non-governmental organizations and the media, can be particularly effective in reaching out to remote areas.


Go through Reading 11.1, Magic Eyes in Thailand.

Working in small groups, discuss the following:

1. What was your reaction to this Programme?

2. How far would a Programme of this kind be relevant in your own country?

3. What steps might you take to put a non-formal environmental education Programme into operation in your community?

Sustainable Development and the Environment

The natural environment provides the basis for most economic activities. Yet many such activities take natural resources for granted. Non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels are used without due regard for their future availability or for their effects on the environment. One particularly serious threat to sustainable development is pollution. It is caused by materials and poisons such as aluminium cans, mercurial salts, and many different kinds of chemicals including some insecticides and pesticides. These may not degrade or may only do so very slowly in the natural environment. Some of them move along food chains, and some combine to produce highly toxic substances.


Investigating the Effects of Pollution

Collect soil samples from three different types of factory waste dumps. NOTE: great care is essential since some waste may be toxic.

Also collect a soil sample from a vegetable garden.

Grow common bean plants in each of the four samples;

Record the height of the bean plants and describe their condition regularly for four weeks.

What conclusions can be drawn with regard to the possible effects of factory waste on plant growth?


Individual Activity: Pollution in the School

Take a walk in the area surrounding the school. Carry a bag with you and put into it all the litter you can find.

When you return, pool all the items you have collected and divide them into categories (papers, bottle tops, cans, etc;);

Decide which people are most likely to have dropped which items.

Plan a strategy to present your results so that discarding of litter will be effectively discouraged in the future.

Wildlife and Environmental Education

Nature conservation and the use of wildlife is a form of land use, whether practised in isolation or integrated with other patterns of land use. It must be sociopolitically acceptable, economically justifiable and economically sustainable.

In most developing countries wildlife as a resource is being threatened as people over crop animals and plants or invade their ecosystems. If wildlife is well managed this can be of benefit to society in the present and in the future.

In some countries the government has declared certain wildlife species and plants endangered and it is an offence to kill them. In Zimbabwe, for example, 10 mammals, 40 birds and 48 plants have been declared protected species. The black rhino population, for example, numbered about 2,500 in 1980 but had fallen to an estimated 500 in 1993; the remainder must have been poached.


Saving the Rhino or any other animal at risk: Role Play


Despite being a protected species, the numbers of rhino in the country have fallen dramatically. The government is considering legalizing trade in rhino horn in order to control the trade and ultimately save the rhino. Possibilities of breeding, farming and openly marketing rhino are also being considered. Conservationists are lobbying against domesticating the animal and are calling for more money and wardens to protect the rhino in game parks.

Enact a debate on what measures ought to be taken by the government.


sympathizer with rhino poachers

game warden

sympathizer with rhino-horn trader sympathizer with users of rhino-horn products

villager who wishes to be given hunting rights in game parks


(a) pupil, a member of the school’s nature club

(b) traditional healer


Endangered Species

Some species are now threatened with extinction.

List rare or endangered species found near your village/farm/town which fall within one or other of the following categories:


A visit to the local museum or national park will help.

How often in the last two months have you seen the species you have identified?

Why is it becomming difficult to see them?

What community effort can you participate in to help protect rare or endangered species?


The purpose of population education is to help people understand the impact of population change on their lives and to develop the decision-making skills they will need to cope with their population situation and improve it.

Joseph van Arendonk, Assistant Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) ERA Monograph I.

A population grows mainly as a result of natural increase, i.e. an excess of births over deaths. To a lesser extent it also grows from immigration. In general, both birth and death rates are lower in developed than in developing countries.

Although they are still higher than in developed countries, death rates in developing countries have dropped sharply as a result of improved standards of health and hygiene. At the same time, birth rates remain high and this is attributable to factors such as:

the perception of children as insurance against poverty;

early marriage;

social customs favouring male children for performing religious ceremonies and for inheritance;

limited use of methods of birth control.

As a consequence of high birth rates, developing countries tend to have very young populations. In Zimbabwe, for example, 48 per cent of the population is under 15, compared with less than 30 per cent in developed countries. Such a youthful age-structure makes it necessary for an abnormally high proportion of government expenditure to be directed to non-productive areas such as clinics and schools. The education sector, for example, is under continuous pressure to ‘keep up’; to build more schools and recruit more teachers as more and more children move into the school age-group.

Population policy is a matter of controversy in many countries. It is affected by political, cultural and religious factors, and each country has to work out its population policy in relation to its own constraints.


Go through Reading 11.2, Population Education in Benin (page 17).

How far do similar considerations apply in your country?

Does the approach to population education differ sharply from that in Benin?

If so, identify the signifiant factors.

A number of basic and universally applicable concepts form part of the content of population education.

First, there is the importance of having respect for others, especially persons of the opposite sex. If children can learn this, can understand what it means and can develop it as a strongly held value, then they will refrain from behaviour which is potentially harmful to others.

A second equally important concept is that of self-respect and self-esteem. While this is pertinent to both boys and girls, it is particularly important for girls, and should be accompanied by exposure to the variety of options (employment opportunities, etc.) which will open up to them if they finish their formal education and avoid early pregnancy.

Third, children and young people should learn to understand that it is possible to plan. This includes the importance and feasibility of family planning. When children leave school, at whatever age, they need to understand the importance of planning the first pregnancy in terms of the benefits (health, social and economic) that planning can bring to them and their children. They should understand too that, ideally, children are born out of a conscious, carefully thought-out decision on the part of loving parents. This concept needs to be taught early and is one of the most important in population education.

The fourth concept to convey is that behaviour has consequences. Since individuals can usually control their behaviour, they must accept responsibility for its consequences. If adolescents behave irresponsibly, for example, in the area of reproductive behaviour, they should understand that the consequences may have lifelong implications.

Finally, children and young people need to learn how to withstand social pressures. These may come from peers in societies where early adolescent sexual activity is prevalent; they can also come from parents or other relatives and neighbours who expect young couples to have their first child as soon as possible after marriage. Population education should help learners to recognize these types of social pressure and help students to deal with them in a responsible manner.


Working in small groups, discuss the five basic concepts outlined above. How would you go about teaching them?

Population Education and Women’s Issues

The concepts of ‘population education’ and ‘improvement of the situation of women’ are closely related. The essential common factor is that of the integration of women in development activity. The time has come for the explicit recognition of the role of women as active agents of development. Population education is based on two main concerns, one for the family and the individual, the other for major demographic trends. Women are at the centre of both. Through marriage and procreation, the woman is at the heart of the family and also of demographic change. As an individual she must develop self-confidence and self-esteem. In some parts of the world the demographic scene is largely governed by factors such as early marriage, polygamy and repeated childbirth. Among adolescents pregnancy is an all too common cause of girls dropping out of school. It is important to take action to ensure that all adolescents and adults, especially girls and women, have access to population education.


Too Young for Family Planning? Role Play


Sekai, a 35-year-old mother of five children and her 17-year-old neighbour, Revai, who is already the mother of one child, are having a discussion with a community-based family planning worker, Mai Tambu.

Sekai’s 16-year-old daughter, Chipo, just back from school, comes into the room. At first Sekai orders her to leave, saying that the conversation is for adults only. Revai points out that she and Chipo are about the same age.

Reluctantly Sekai is persuaded to let Chipo join in.

Enact the discussion that is likely to follow.

Approaches to Population Education

Population education can be a lot of fun for pupils when ordinary games are built into learning activities. One example is the use of the snakes and ladders board game for population education (see page 10).


The Population Game

Up to five pupils can play. The first player to throw a six with the dice starts. Each player, in turn, moves forward the number of places shown by their throw of the dice. The aim is to be the first to reach 80, the finish. Landing at the foot of a ladder (an indication of a favourable factor) takes the player to the top; Landing at the head of a snake (an indication of an unfavourable factor) takes the player back to the tail; The notes given on the board help the players to learn which factors are favourable and which unfavourable for influencing population growth through family planning. The enjoyment of the game is in no way diminished by combining it with learning.

Snakes and Ladders Population Game


Health is a measure of the effectiveness with which individuals and human groups - using a combination of biological and cultural resources - adapt to their environment. This includes the capacity to face crises with ease and grace and to maintain a positive attitude towards life and its responsibilities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) health is the complete mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Good health occurs when human beings and their environment are in harmony. Changes in the environment such as housing, sanitation, climate and social behaviour can lead to poor health. Harmful organisms in the environment cause diseases. These can be spread through the air, water, food, insects and contact between people.

Health is a vital part of worldwide ‘Education for All’. It addresses the basic learning needs of both children and adults. To ensure that these needs are met, developed and developing countries alike should provide health education for people of all ages, at school and out of school as well as through adult literacy and adult education programmes. A ‘call for action’ to identify and meet the basic health needs of all these different population groups was issued at the Jomtien Conference.

The twin goals, ‘Education for All’ and ‘Health for All’, are inseparably linked. Both are human rights and must be achieved concurrently. Good health is essential for effective learning and education is a powerful means of enabling children and adults to attain and maintain good health.

In addition to benefiting children directly, health education can have an important multiplier effect on the community. When properly encouraged, children themselves become excellent health managers and activists within their own families and communities. Thus, effective teachers can be an invaluable resource for health in the community as well as in the school. This is of special importance for the developing world where schoolteachers outnumber health workers by five to one.

Health Education in the School Curriculum

The health-education curriculum is a key factor in improving health education. Some basic principles for developing a good curriculum concern the identification and, above all, the progressive development, of key topics throughout the school career of children and young people, using different strategies appropriate to their stage of development. This is sometimes called the spiral approach to curriculum planning. As in other facets of the curriculum, such as science and technology education, it is important to start where children are in their perception of a particular topic. They come to school with their own ideas about health topics and these can provide important starting points in their own learning It is important to use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods, including opportunities for taking decisions which lead to practical action.

Each country needs to draw up its own list of essential topics for health education, allowing, where appropriate, for variations to take account of differing regional and local situations (see also Topic 5, Reading 5.5).


The following list of topics for health education comes from the Philippines:

human growth and physical development;

personal health; prevention and control of disease;

community health; drug abuse; consumer education;

growth to maturity (including sex education);


mental and emotional health;

first aid.

Working in small groups, discuss to what extent these would be priority topics in your own situation.

Discuss your conclusions with the group as a whole.

Are all the topics you consider to be important being taught in your school?

Health education is often integrated with other subjects. Most frequently, it is integrated with science, physical education, home economics and social studies. In primary education, integration should not be difficult where each class has a single teacher responsible for covering the whole curriculum and who knows each pupil well. The core elements of the curriculum provide many opportunities for developing health-education themes and topics. Indeed, health education can enhance some traditional curriculum areas by providing a relevance to children’s lives. It can thus generate motivation to learn through linking with matters of importance to them, such as the health of their own families and friends.

The ‘health-promoting school’ is increasingly being used as a unifying concept for the many aspects of health education. It is widely recognized that health education does not end with schooling but that its effect and influence on pupils is greatly intensified by the supportive network of school, home and community.


Go through Reading 11.3, The Health-promoting School (page 17).

Working in small groups, discuss the concept, basing your discussion on the following questions:

Does your school have a health-education curriculum?

If so, is the curriculum backed by the policies and ethos of the school,

Are there constructive links with families and the community,

In what ways could the role of your school as a’ health-promoting school’be enhanced?

Links between school and community have been established in many countries in order to address health issues. School premises are used as temporary health posts and as centres where teachers and pupils can bring a better understanding of healthy living to the community. Schoolchildren and teachers have played an active role in many national immunization campaigns.

The health education of out-of-school children poses major problems in many countries. Outreach programmes to such children have been devised in a number of innovative ways. Go through Readings 11.4 and 11.5 (page 18 and 19) for further consideration of this issue.

Drug Abuse

Habit-forming drugs such as marijuana, mandrax and cocaine should be avoided. They affect both physical and mental health. Such drugs cause headaches, muscular pain, convulsions and hallucination. The feelings of satisfaction they give are exaggerated and heavily outweighed by the associated negative effects on health. Those who take drugs end up dependent on them, i.e. they feel that they must continuously have drugs in order to go on living. Alcohol, although socially acceptable in many societies, is a habit-forming drug and has negative effects on health if taken in excess. Cigarettes, too, contain substances which are harmful to the body and the association of smoking with cancer and lung and heart disease is now widely accepted.

Preventive education against drug abuse is essential. Drugs play a beneficial role only when prescribed or administered by qualified health personnel, doctors and nurses. Drugs should not be obtained from peers or strangers or even from friends. They may themselves be addicted or be dealers, or pushers. It is useful for pupils to be able to recognize habit-forming drugs by their appearance and be aware of the symptoms they cause.


AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) awareness should also form part of health education. AIDS is a long-term condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which renders the body’s natural defence systems ineffective. When this stage is reached the person is said to be suffering from AIDS. So far there is no known cure.


1. Indicate whether the following are True or False:

AIDS is spread by:

using unsterilized needles for injections........................

using untested blood for transfusions...........................

caring for those with AIDS..........................................

using toilets and latrines used by an infected person.....

sexual intercourse with an infected person...................

shaking hands with an infected person........................

2. Collect cuttings of newspaper and magazine items and articles on AIDS.

Report to your co-teachers the main ideas in them.

Why are there now more news items on AIDS than there were only a few years ago?

The Key Role of Teachers

The training of teachers in the principles and practices of health education is crucial for the success of health-education programmes of all types. Teachers should understand the nature of the process of health education and how to apply it to the problems and needs of the children in school and to the local community. There has been a real effort, particularly related to drugs and AIDS education, to improve the in-service training of teachers, but in general, less attention has been given to health during pre-service teacher education. Health, as a rule, has been linked mainly with biology and integrated science teaching, and to a certain extent, with home economics and physical education.

While there is now broad agreement that health education should find a firm place in the pre-service training of teachers, pressure on teaching time and the lack of suitable trainers pose problems. However, some countries have made substantial efforts to provide both in-service and pre-service training for teachers as well as for other key personnel in public health and health education.


Reading 11.1

The Role of Non-governmental and Community Organizations in Promoting Environmental Education: Magic Eyes in Thailand

There is mounting concern that environmental destruction is advancing at so swift a pace that there is no time left to wait for the next generation to be environmentally educated. Fortunately, reaching children and youth effectively can also be a means of reaching adults, thereby helping to change the behaviour of two generations at the same time. This is illustrated in the following case-study.

The Thai Environmental and Community Development Association (TECDA) began work in the early 1980s with the aim of educating all the people to be environmentally aware. At the time the Programme was launched environmental education was a relatively new concept in Thailand. It was hoped that awareness would lead to action (initially in people’s own domains - in the house, outside the front gate) and then to participation in developing the community and the country as a whole. Thus, the idea of issue ownership was being put into practice to develop responsible citizenship. The ultimate aim of the project was to develop a love for, and attachment to, one’s environment, so much so that one would no longer allow others to pollute, but rather encourage them to conserve the environment. The important point was to present complex environmental problems simply and to show how they affect individuals.

TECDA’s basic mass education began with the ‘MAGIC EYES’ HELP KEEP THAILAND CLEAN CAMPAIGN. The Thai population is young, 60 per cent are under 25 years old and 40 per cent are under 14. Young people have a major influence on society today and they will be the future economic leaders, industrialists and policy-makers. The campaign was, therefore, developed with children and youth as the main targets, and adults as secondary targets. A series of cartoon advertisements on television were directed at children - persuading them to put rubbish in its proper place and encouraging them to ‘police’ adults and shame them into doing the same thing, with the words ‘Ah-Ah! DON’T LITTER! MAGIC EYES SEE YOU’.

The campaign started in 1984 with advertising and promotion to get people involved. Life-size puppets, television advertisements, badges, stickers, T-shirts, posters and handbooks were used to promote the MAGIC EYES. The logo is shown on the following page.

From the anti-litter campaign, the Programme expanded to address problems of water pollution and forest destruction. The slogan was changed to HELP KEEP THAILAND GREEN AND CLEAN. Kindergartens are now teaching MAGIC EYES jingles the way nursery rhymes are taught as a means of instructing children not to litter


In developing this Programme, partnerships have been built up with various sectors of the community. In particular, they involve community leaders of various kinds, government officials, the private sector in the community, and schools. Contributions have been received from supporting companies, followed by actual participation and involvement whenever possible.

Activities and campaigns have also been launched to encourage involvement and participation by the general public so as to increase understanding of environmental problems and to raise the consciousness of different communities (for example, factories, businesses and open-air markets) to their responsibilities for maintaining a good environment. They include tree-planting and anti-litter campaigns, contests among different groups such as clean factory, clean market, street sweepers contests, and riverbank and floating restaurant contests. There are also painting competitions, slogan contests, cartoon drawing and essay contests.

In January 1990, the Chao Phya River Programme was launched to draw attention to the rapid deterioration of this river which runs through eleven provinces and has always been considered Thailand’s lifeline. The MAGIC EYES logo is used, but in a blue colour scheme. Since the start of the Programme, interest in the Chao Phya River has increased markedly in all sectors: individuals, communities, schools, university groups, mass media and the government. Examples include a trial Programme to collect garbage along the riverside by boat, and the introduction of both short- and long-term measures to solve the problem of water pollution at the Bangkok Fish Market.

The Programme has been tremendously successful in getting Thai people educated and involved in improving local environmental conditions. The number of people actively participating in the Programme grew from 15,000 in 1984 to over 100,000 in 1986 and 500,000 in 1989.

Adapted from: EfA Monograph 1.

Reading 11.2

Population Education in Benin

An interesting example of a population education Programme which attempts, on the one hand, to ‘start where the learners are’, and, on the other, to place its activities in the context of the cultural and religious values of the country, is furnished by Benin. The idea of a Programme concerned with sex education was a sensitive issue and, from the beginning, it was difficult to launch it properly. Therefore it was decided to change the tactics and redefine the content and context. An attempt was made to distinguish between population education as such, and the requirements of family planning, and to address relevant messages to appropriate age-groups. Educators and teachers were trained on the basis of a Programme covering more than one discipline, for example, issues relating to biology, health education, environmental education, etc.

The Programme now in operation starts gradually with an emphasis on health and hygiene in pre-school education. It then develops at primary school on an interdisciplinary basis in relation to geography, preservation and safeguarding of the environment and health - with relevance to diseases prevalent in the country. At more advanced levels links between the quality of life and population trends are established and appropriate attitudes and behaviour are cultivated. For those in higher education, there are seminars and conferences on specific topics. This Programme is now operating successfully and the initial resistance has been overcome.

Adapted from: EfAMonograph 1.

Reading 11.3

The Health-promoting School

In its simplest sense the ‘health-promoting school’ is a force for the dynamic interaction of three strands - the classroom, the school community and the local environment. Its main characteristics are described below:

What children learn in the classroom through the health-education curriculum depends for its effectiveness on the nature of the curriculum itself and the skills of the teachers.

What children learn incidentally from being in a school community through its ethics, its policies and physical structures, and its regard for human relationships and dignity, should support and provide further development of what is taught in the classroom.

What children learn from their environment through living in families and their contacts with other influential groups, through the media and through the activities of the school health service and other health-related services, such as hospitals and public health campaigns, complements the other two strands.

The concept of the ‘health-promoting school’ is still in its infancy. The successful health-promoting school is one which is able to co-ordinate all these opportunities to learn to the best possible advantage and to focus all relevant influences on promoting the health of pupils and teachers. All too often, where there is excellent learning and teaching in the classroom related, perhaps, to tobacco or nutrition, the messages and influences are undone by bad experiences in school canteens or by the lack of coherent public policies with regard to smoking. Children learn more from example and from good role models than from rhetoric.

Adapted from: EfA Monograph 1.

Reading 11.4

Health Education Nor Out-of-School Children

According to UNESCO estimates, even if enrolment trends are maintained, there are likely to be 200 million out-of-school children by the year 2000.

Out-of-school children include orphans and children from underprivileged families. Some may have dropped out of school, but most of them never attended school. For all of them the essential problem is survival. Self-preservation and the demands of the family, if there is one, thrust adult responsibilities on them prematurely. Nevertheless, they have the right to health education.

Among the out-of-school children are the street children. It is estimated that there are 30 million street children in the world, victims of poverty, war, civil strife, and loss of parents. Half of the 30 million live in Latin America: 7 million children alone live on the streets of Brazil’s cities and towns. Community-based organizations have devised ways of reaching out to these children.

Underprivileged children in urban areas who, with their families, struggle for survival, often do not value schooling, nor can they afford it. There has been an alarming increase in the number of poor urban families due in part to the growing migration from the rural to the urban areas. Far too many children either become street children, driven to engage in illicit activities, or are exploited as cheap unskilled labour, condemned to live in slums with no social identity or hope of escape. In a number of countries efforts are now being made to reach these children.

Another group of children who do not go to school are those from poor families in rural areas where child labour is still regarded as an essential part of the way of life. Children, especially girls, are needed to carry out many daily activities such as collecting firewood and fodder, grazing animals, carrying out household chores and minding younger children. Being poor and female are two major reasons why many of these children do not go to school (see also Topic 2, Module 3).

Adult literacy and adult education health programmes

Adult literacy programmes focused on health promotion are being carried out in many countries around the world. Sometimes the initiative and support come from specific concerns such as nutrition, family life or AIDS. In other cases they may integrate activities to meet more than one need: for example, a self-reliance and literacy Programme in Bangladesh seeks to help the landless, the young and women. Education, health, family planning and income-generating activities are all incorporated in it.

Other programmes have been aimed specially at mothers and pre-school children. In India, for example, as part of the country’s integrated child-development services, mothers can come to health centres where they can learn about such topics as immunization, nutrition and a clean environment. The services are designed to help mothers develop good hygiene and health habits in children before they enter school.

Adapted from: EfAMonographs I and 11.

Reading 11.5

The Child-to-Child Programme

The ‘Child-to-Child’ Programme, pioneered in the United Kingdom and adopted in many developing countries, is based on the fact that many children spend much of their time caring for their younger siblings. In developing countries it is the youngest children who pay the highest price in terms of illness. The main causes of infant mortality include malaria, diarrhoea, respiratory infections and infectious diseases, most of which are due to unhygienic conditions and malnutrition. All are, to a greater or lesser extent, open to remedy or alleviation by public health education. Children are receptive to new ideas and have abundant energy to pass them on and apply them. If they are taught sound health principles, they are better able to look after the younger children in the family, carry new ideas into the home and help to reach out-of-school children.

The ‘Child-to-Child’ approach is based on four principles: (i) the importance of primary health care, that is, to develop within the community and in each of its members the ability to take responsibility for improvement of their own health; (ii) confidence in the ability of children, as members of their community, to spread the messages of primary health care among their parents, their families and their communities; (iii) the importance of action - in health education every lesson should be accompanied by practical work related to health care; and (iv) the need for co-operation, that is, mutually agreed action taken by educators and health workers.

Activity sheets and other learning resources have been developed, relevant to the country in which the Programme is operating. Since it was launched in 1979, the International Year of the Child, Child-to-Child has become operative in over sixty countries.

Source: EfA Monograph 1.


Hawes, H.; Nicholson, J.; Bonat, G. (eds.). 1991. Children, Health and Science: Child-to-Child Activities and Science and Technology Teaching, Science and Technology Education. Document Series No 41. Paris, UNESCO.

UNESCO. 1977. Trends in Environmental Education. Paris, UNESCO.

UNESCO. 1983. Preparing Teachers For Population Education. Paris, UNESCO.