Health Education (part1): Toward a Health Democracy
n° 69, december 2011
Health education today is a good example of the increasing responsibilities of schools and teachers. The increasing number of institutional guidelines in this area is indicative of a growing concern in the French Ministry of Education on the need to include health education in the more general field of citizenship education (as part of the principle of ‘bien vivre ensemble à l’école’). Since the publication of the Ottawa Charter (1986), some experts have argued that health promotion is part and parcel of the responsibilities of schools, a view opposed by others. The French health care system is based on a curative approach and pays little attention to preventive approaches to health. Focusing on emergency health measures rather than preventive medicine and health promotion, the French system system invests even less in collective prevention. At the crossroads of medicine and education studies, health education has close affinities with the concepts of lifelong education and empowerment for health. Part one of this two-part study examines several aspects of the relationship between health and education: is school the right place to promote health education? What strategies will help to change behaviors and practices? What training should be provided to teachers, and in what context? Part two (to be published subsequently) will examine the question of schools as promoters of health and and the global approaches to health promotion in education.
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