Toilets, disaster preparedness, first-aid knowledge...these are
among various criteria to help categorise many Chandigarh schools
under a unique initiative to ensure healthy surroundings in these
institutions, government or private.
Called Health Promoting School (HPS), it will be implemented
within three years in 185 schools and benefit over 225,000
students. Schools in this union territory (UT) will be the first
in the country to adopt this scheme.
For the pilot project, 21 schools have been selected and over
37,600 students will be involved. It will be funded by the health
department in collaboration with the World Health Organisation.
"An HPS is defined as a school constantly strengthening its
capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working,"
said Bhavneet Bharti, associate professor at the Post-Graduate
Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and
co-investigator for the project.
The schools will be accredited with the health department and be
required to fulfil certain health and hygiene parameters.
Each school will fill a proforma in which it will list its
existing facilities - from health status to toilets, health
initiatives being taken and the preparedness of each institution
for disaster management and first-aid knowledge.
The schools will then be put under various categories - bronze,
silver, gold and platinum - depending upon the goals achieved by
"The categories will be allotted to schools based on fulfilling
certain criteria of nutrition, physical activity, health-hygiene,
stress management and others," Paramjyoti, medical officer-school
health, told IANS here.
Once accredited, the schools will be monitored by the Quality
Council of India (QCI), an enterprise jointly set up by the
government of India and leading industry associations in 1997.
QCI will ensure that all health parameters are met by these
"We intend to cover all the 106 government schools, 75 private
schools and other schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas. There are
nearly 225,000 students in the union territory who will be
involved in this in the next three years," Paramjyoti said.
"School health in Chandigarh has moved forward from a single team
to more than 10 teams in the last decade. It has moved forward
from just a screening team to facilitate health promotion in
schools. The 21-odd schools for the pilot project are the ones
which can afford to match the requirements for a healthy
environment," she added.
The HPS framework offers an approach involving coordinated action
between the three components - curriculum, teaching and learning;
school ethos and environment; partnerships and good health-related
Jitender Nagpal, programme director of the NGO Expression India,
said: "School mental health promotion programmes should be
available to all students and should reflect a shared agenda -
with families and young people, school and community partners
Bharti said, "HPS improves the health of the school's community,
engages health and education officials and the school's community
in efforts to make the school a healthy place. It provides a
healthy environment and multiple opportunities for health. It
implements policies and practices that support an individual's
(Jaideep Sarin can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)