Health Education

The aim of Health Education programmes is to protect, improve and promote the physical, mental and social well-being of pupils by strengthening their personality and by upgrading their social and natural environment. Health Education is the appropriate precautionary approach in education when dealing with problems in interpersonal relations, anti-social behaviour, delinquency, smoking, alcohol, drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, road safety and racism.

Within the context of the implementation of the New Curricula, Health Education has been introduced as a subject in the syllabuses of Primary and Secondary Education Schools. The students not only have the chance to get informed about the physical consequences of certain behaviors but also to consider the factors that affect their behaviour, to practice communication and cooperation skills, to manage conflicts and cope with peer pressure, to deal with social stereotypes, to manage issues such as security, education consumer rights and responsibilities, drugs, sex education etc.

The Ministry of Education and Culture supports the school unit in the development and implementation of an action plan on health education and prevention of delinquency. The action plan must be approved by the students and school staff and must meet the needs and the characteristics of each school; while at the same time should take advantage of opportunities for cooperation with parents, the community and all other stakeholders. Within the context of the implementation of this strategy, EPA has requested with a circular (No. 2922 for Primary Education, No. 5486 for General Secondary Education and No. 1297 for Secondary Technical and Vocational Education) that all school units develop and implement an action plan on health education and prevention of delinquency. In the relevant circular, there are examples of good practice.

The Health Education Programmes Office is in the Ministry of Education and Culture. It supports schools from all levels of education and carries out the following actions:
  • Seminars for the Teaching Staff. These seminars are announced with circulars on the Ministry of Education and Culture website.
  • Implementation of the Health Education Programme. It is supported with scheduled visits to schools (upon submission of an online application by the schools).
  • Funding the school unit actions. The funded actions are designed to strengthen the factors that serve the goals of Health Education as they have emerged both for the Cypriot and international reality: Development of personal and social skills, effective management of emotions and development of communication skills, promotion of self-esteem, improvement of the psychosocial climate at school, support of the family self-sufficiency. The request for a grant is made to the Health Education and Citizenship Coordinating Committee. Application forms and relevant information is given in the CIRCULARS No. 2878 for Primary Education and no. 5398 for Secondary General Education and 1237 for Secondary Technical and Vocational Education.
  • Supporting schools for the holistic treatment of serious delinquency cases. The request is made to the Committee for Direct Intervention. Application forms and relevant information is given in CIRCULARS No. 2923 for Primary Education, no. 5487 for Secondary General Education and no. 1298 for Secondary Technical and Vocational Education. Parallel to the above mentioned group, the Observatory on School Violence which collects, records, encodes, and analyzes data on the extent and forms of violence at school also offers assistance.
  • Implementation of the Health Education Programmes
    • The European network of Health Promoting Schools: the European network of Health Promoting Schools (ENHPS), aims to develop healthy lifestyle for all members of the school unit. The program has been implemented in schools with the cooperation of the Ministry of Health.
    • Well-being: the program is the result of an inter-State agreement between Greece and Cyprus. Within the framework of this programme, each participating school from Cyprus cooperates with a school from Greece for two years and explores an issue related to health (smoking, alcohol, drugs, food, etc.)
    • Zones of Educational Priority: It is a Programme of selective or focused prevention which aims at strengthening networks of schools. Within the Z.E.P. areas a number of innovative activities such as the operation of recreation and entertainment rooms, operation of student clubs (dance, theatre, journalism, music, painting, radio, soccer) and programs of educational, cultural and health activities is promoted.
    • Folk Stories and Tales against addiction: It is an experiential folk story telling programme in the form of workshops. The programme aims to prevent addiction through culture, art and folk storytelling.
    • Road Safety Education: The Road Safety Education Programme aims to sensitise teachers and pupils on road safety issues. The actions include training teachers and pupils with the use of booklets, audio-visual material and active involvement of both teachers and pupils. The programme aims to promote attitudes and skills towards safe and responsible behaviour in traffic safety matters.
    • Mentor: The Mentor Life Education Units are mobile classrooms where a programme aiming at the prevention of drug use and addiction is offered to pupils ranging from the Class A of Primary School to Class B Gymnasium.
    • Anti-drug Education Seminars: These are three-day-seminars which aim at preventing drug addiction. Class B from the Gymnasium are chosen to participate in the seminars. Upon returning to their schools they work towards dissemination and a peer-led approach.
  • Sex education Programme: This programme is the result of collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Medical Association. It deals with the sexuality of the individual and aims to develop interpersonal relations respect and mutual understanding between the two sexes.
  • School without tobacco: With circulars number 2110 and 4316 for the Primary and Secondary Education respectively all schools from all levels of education are expected to implement actions against smoking for pupils, teachers, parents and guardians. An outline of a policy that can be adopted by the schools as well as activities that can be carried out both at school and in the classroom are attached with the circulars. Moreover, information is given about the negative effects of smoking on a persons health and statistics about teenage smokers in Cyprus. Details about private and state stakeholders that can support anti-smoking plans of action are supplied.
  • Access to printed and online material: Teachers can borrow books on Health Education from the Library situated in the Ministry of Education and Culture (room 122A). The Health Education Programmes Office supplies all school units with books on Health Education
  • Promotion of Good Practices on Health Education: The Health Education Programmes Office organizes meetings and conventions between schools aiming at exchanging material. Moreover schools are invited to participate in competitions organized by the office. They submit projects they have created on prevention practices related to smoking, safety and delinquency. Examples of good practices can be found on the website as well as in relevant circulars.

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