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And now health accredited schools; Chandigarh to show way

Jaideep Sarin | Chandigarh 22 Jul 2011, Vol 2 Issue 29

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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 them.

"The categories will be allotted to schools based on fulfilling certain criteria of nutrition, physical activity, health-hygiene, stress management and others," said Paramjyoti, medical officer-school health.

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 schools.

"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. - IANS

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