Video Lessons to Help School Teachers Promote Healthy Lifestyle in Kyrgyzstan

Based on an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, UNESCO IITE, jointly with the MEDIA KITCHEN production studio and leading national health promotion experts, produced video lessons to be used by school teachers in delivering ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ homeroom classes.

Kyrgyzstan is one of the few countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where health and relationship education is an obligatory school subject. Since 2014, ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ homeroom classes have been delivered by all secondary schools on a regular basis.

Between 2017 and 2019, with support from UNESCO IITE, more than 600 teachers from 207 secondary schools of Kyrgyzstan were trained in the methods of delivering health promotion lessons using the  Guide ‘Designing Homeroom Classes on Healthy Lifestyle for Students of Grades 6-11’.  Now, right in time before the new school year, another useful resource has been made available to Kyrgyz teachers: 48 video lessons on healthy lifestyle (24 in Kyrgyz and 24 in Russian).

Intended for school students in grades 6-7 and 8-11, these video lessons are based on the lesson plans provided in the Guide ‘Designing Homeroom Classes on Healthy Lifestyle for Students of Grades 6-11’.

The video lessons avoid a didactic approach but only present facts, allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions. Visual illustrations, short quizzes and catchy animated videos make the content easy to understand and engaging. Teachers are advised to pause the video several times during the class to discuss with students what they have just viewed.

Some video lessons cover topics such as growing up and puberty (‘Age of Change’), prevention of infections, including COVID-19 (‘Microbes: Why Hand Washing Is Important?’, ‘Airborne Infections and How to Protect Yourself’).

Other video lessons discuss relationships, friendship and love (‘Love and Relationships: How It Happens’, ‘Why People Make Friends and What Relationships Are Like’).

A separate video lesson focuses on starting a family and explains why early and forced marriages and bride kidnapping are prohibited (‘Family and Marriage: What Brings Happiness and What Prevents It’).

The video lessons on HIV prevention and the social dimensions of the HIV epidemic (‘HIV: What We Need to Know’, ‘HIV, AIDS and Society) are delivered by Erkin Ryskulbekov, a popular TV presenter and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Kyrgyzstan.

Several lessons focus on developing self-confidence, building decision-making, communication and conflict resolution skills, and on preventing violence and bullying (‘How to Develop Self-confidence’, ‘How to Make Decisions’, ‘Communication and Conflict’, ‘Online Bullying: How to Avoid It and How to Protect Yourself’, ‘Violence and Bullying: How to Avoid and How to Protect Yourself’).

Three video lessons discuss gender, family planning and STI prevention in simple, easy-to-understand language (‘Sex and Gender’, ‘Family Planning: What It Is and Why It Matters’, ‘Responsible Behavior and STI Prevention’).

Teachers found the video lessons really helpful:

I would like to thank you for the video lessons on Sanarip Sabak! They provide a lot of interesting and relevant information, alongside exercises and a large variety of exciting and engaging materials. All homeroom teachers at our school use them to prepare for classes and enjoy doing the assignments – and then discussing them with the students. Our students are also happy to attend these cool healthy lifestyle classes.

Rano Koychumanova, high school teacher, Bishkek

These video lessons on healthy lifestyle uploaded on Sanarip Sabak are a lifesaver for every homeroom teacher. The material is narrated by popular presenters in a youth-friendly format. Such homeroom classes allow students not only to learn things from the teacher but also to share their opinion on particular issues and to hear what other students think. This makes our classes so much more effective, exciting and interesting. And as long as students find them interesting, they will enjoy attending these homeroom classes and remember them for the rest of their lives!

Vera Savochkina, Deputy Principal, High School No. 4, Bishkek

Students also appreciate the video lessons:

I really enjoyed the “HIV: What We Need to Know” homeroom class with TV presenter Erkin Ryskulbekov. He spoke about the problem in such an accessible and engaging way that at the end I passed the quiz about the HIV myths without a single mistake.  It was a sensation! Now I know for sure that my health is in my own hands!

Maxim Dostovalov, 11th grade student, Bishkek

I especially liked the video lesson on starting a family, because it also addressed the serious topic of Ala kachuu (bride kidnapping). It was really interesting, because the presenter did not just talk about it but also offered small assignments to help us analyze the situation. In conclusion, the presenter said that what we call Ala kachuu is not an ancient tradition, contrary to what many people believe, but a crime and has always been a crime. Thank you so much for all the new knowledge!

Ayday Attokurova, 11th grade student, Bishkek

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic prepared Instructional Letter No. 03-2/1943 providing guidance on how to enhance the delivery of health education to school students. The Letter instructs the educational authorities and school principals to ensure regular delivery of homeroom classes on healthy lifestyles, either offline or online, using the Guide ‘Designing Homeroom Classes on Healthy Lifestyle for Students of Grades 6-11’ and the video lessons. The Instructional Letter can be downloaded here.

On September 7, 2021, Rano Kutanova, UNESCO IITE project coordinator, and Valentina Gorkina, a national expert on healthy lifestyles, presented these video tutorials to teachers and leaders of the education system of the Kyrgyz Republic at a conference organized by the Ministry of Education and Science. “Kutbilim” newspaper published and made available to all the participants brief methodological recommendations on conducting healthy lifestyle classes using video lessons.

The video lessons on healthy lifestyle are available from the Sanarip Sabak educational portal and YouTube channel in the section (playlist) ‘Supplementary education’ in Kyrgyz and in Russian. The video lessons are also available at UNESCO IITE YouTube channel.