Armenian teachers received new guidelines on healthy lifestyle lessons in the framework of UNESCO IITE supported project

All schools in Yerevan and all regional education departments across Armenia received new teacher guides for healthy lifestyle lessons in the course of the project initiated by the UNESCO IITE and UNAIDS as a part of regional cooperation programme supported by the Russian Federation.

Healthy lifestyle lessons were first introduced in Armenian schools in 2008-2010. According to the Government decision, 14 lessons per year were assigned to study the new obligatory subject in grades 8 to 11. Two guides were developed to provide teachers with lesson plans and activities for grades 8-9 and 10-11. Since then, the guides had not been revised or reprinted, neither health educators had been retrained until the new project started.

In 2017, the guides were revised by a team of national experts from the Institute of Child and Adolescent Health and National Education Institute. Changes were done mostly in the lessons on HIV prevention, sexual behavior and reproductive health.

The newly revised guides were approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia and presented to teachers at a large conference held in Yerevan on December 22, 2018. Tigran Yepoyan, UNESCO regional HIV and health education advisor participated in the conference. Over 200 health educators from all Yerevan schools and specialists from the Institute of Child and Adolescent Health and National Education Institute discussed the project results and agreed that health educators’ trainings shall be continued in Yerevan and other locations.

Ms. Lena Nanushyan, the Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Armenia highlighted the importance of well-trained health teachers and the value of health education at young age in primary school. “From the perspectives of public health, it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle since childhood,” said the Deputy Minister.

Ms. Zhanna Kardashian of Yerevan municipal Department of Education commended the efforts made to train 240 health teachers from 185 Yerevan schools.

Ms. Anahit Karapetian and Ms. Lena Terzikian, representatives of the Armenian National Commission for UNESCO took part in the conference. They highlighted the role of health education in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning.

Mr. Yuri Safarian, Deputy director of the National Education Institute, spoke about the new professional development course on healthy lifestyle, developed with UNESCO IITE’s support. The course is suitable both for preparing teachers-to-be and for training practicing educators. Twenty-two specialists of the Institute’s regional branches have already passed this course.

A group of young people, members of the youth editorial board of the first Armenian website for adolescents about health and relationships TEENSLIVE.AM, took part in the conference. This website developed with UNESCO IITE’s assistance was recommended by the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia as an additional resource for healthy lifestyle lessons.

Mr. Sergey Sargsyan, the chief pediatrician of the Ministry of Health of Armenia, talked about the perspectives of greater cooperation between Healthcare and Education sectors for more effective promotion of healthy living among children and young people. As an example of such cooperation he mentioned the involvement of school nurses in the delivery of healthy lifestyle lessons by discussing issues related to reproductive health.

At the end of the conference, Mr. Tigran Yepoyan thanked all the participants, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Health, the Armenian National Commission for UNESCO, Yerevan Municipality, UNAIDS, the specialist and the management of the National Education Institute and the Institute of Child and Adolescent Health for active participation in the project. He shared UNESCO’s plans to continue this project in the interests of health and well-being of Armenian children and adolescents. Mr. Sergey Sargsyan handed over a certificate of appreciation of the Institute’s cooperation with UNESCO IITE to Mr. Tigran Yepoyan.

The new revised guide for teachers and educational videos for healthy lifestyle lessons developed with еру UNESCO IITE support are available at the website of the National Education Institute in the section on healthy lifestyle.