School Health Programme, MoU inked
The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC) earlier this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will provide a leaping step into the implementation of the Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP) which promotes a conductive and safe environment for learners as well as promote school health education.
Speaking at the signing the deputy minister of Health and Social Services Hon. Juliet Kavetuna said that effective learning and holistic participation in school activities depends on the good health of every school going Namibian. “According to the 2016 Fifteenth School Day Report, there are almost 1,800 schools in Namibia with over 700,000 enrolled learners. A majority of Namibian children and young people spend the better part of their year in schools. This creates a unique opportunity to reach a vast majority of young people in Namibia and improve both the education and health status of learners across our nation through truly effective school health programmes.” she elaborated.
Kavetuna also shared that by the end of 2016, the revised Education Act, Act 16 of 2001 is expected to be tabled in the Parliament of Namibia. “In the revised Act, the Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP) and the cooperation between the MoEAC and the MoHSS is explicitly mentioned thus creating a durable legal foundation and a framework for collaboration between our key lines ministries. It is also crucial to ensure that we start with the implementation of the Integrated School Health Programme already in the Early Childhood Development centres” she said.
Through the Memorandum of Understanding, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Health and Social Services will create a conducive and safe environment for learners and school staff in all schools and hostels. Based on agreed minimum standards of infrastructure and service,the MoU will promote School Health Education through the integration of consistent health and hygiene information and messages into particular life skills national curriculum led by NIED, as well as training MoEAC-appointed teaching staff. Furthermore, school health services will be provided to all learners, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized and the promotion of the school feeding programme will be emphasized on. In her final words, Kavetuna said “we must not forget that the goal of quality education cannot be achieved by school alone. We as MoEAC must therefore foster collaboration with parents and strengthen the linkage between the school and community. Learners, teachers, health workers, parents and communities must all join forces to bring about an improvement of the overall situation of learning and education at every school.”