Education International
Education International

Teachers are indispensable for the promotion of health and safety in schools

published 29 March 2011 updated 5 April 2011

This conclusion was drawn by Professor Davison Munowadawafa at a meeting on school health and safety, evaluating the outcome of the EI EFAIDS programme.

The meeting, which took place in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 22-25 March, was attended by representatives of the following teacher unions: ZIMTA (Zimbabwe Teachers Association), GNAT (Ghana National association of Teachers), KNUT (Kenya national Union of Teachers, UNATU (Uganda National Teachers’ Union), NANTU (Namibia National teachers’ Union), and SADTU (South African Democratic Teachers’ Union). Also present were representatives of ministries of health, ministries of education, and UNESCO.

Convened by WHO, participants shared experiences and consolidated lessons learnt from the implementation of HIV/AIDS prevention in schools through the EFAIDS programme – a project conducted by the teacher unions under the auspices of EI, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Education Development Centre (EDC).

Munowadawafa, the responsible programme manager with WHO, and also convener of the meeting, remarked that “school is an indispensable place for the promotion of childrens’, adolescents’ and education personnel’s health. This is especially true regarding HIV/AIDS prevention and the fight against related discrimination”.

Based on the EFAIDS experience and the context of the WHO Agenda for School Health, the participants of the meeting agreed to broaden their action beyond HIV/AIDS prevention. They agreed to form national associations and a regional network with key partners being the ministries of education and ministries of health, WHO, and the teacher unions.

The goals of the new networks will be the following:

  • To bring together different sectors with a view to form a sustainable network focusing on health promotion, especially public health in schools
  • To consolidate and further share the experiences gathered while implementing the EFAIDS programme, especially in view of the different approaches and interventions towards Education For All and HIV/AIDS
  • To make use of country experiences shared by government ministries, especially in view of different approaches in implementing school health programmes.