HPS Definition & Context
Schools are an important environment for caring for children and adolescents as a valuable national human asset and must adopt a strategy that is inclusive of the health needs of the entire school population and makes appropriate use of health promoting opportunities.
Since 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been actively promoting the Health Promoting Schools (HPS) programs. A health promoting school is defined as "a school that constantly strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working."
In 1996 the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific proposed that "a health-promoting school is a place where all members of the school community work together to provide students with integrated and positive experiences and structures which promote and protect their health."
A health promoting school is based on a setting approach that views the school as an important living area in the developmental process of students. Therefore, a HPS should do the following.
1. The school implements policies that respect an individual's well-being and dignity and provide multiple opportunities for success.
2. The entire school is committed to the HPS Program, striving to improve the health of school personnel, families and community members as well as students.
3. The principal leads advocacy and communicates well with school administrators, teachers, students, parents, health providers, and community leaders to work together in efforts to make the school a healthy place.
4. The school provides a healthy physical environment, social emotional environment, school health education, community connections, and health service resources.
5. The school provides health promotion programs for staff, nutrition and food safety programs, opportunities for physical education and recreation, and programs for counseling, social support and mental health promotion in connection with community development programs.
Development and Outreach Strategy
Since 2002, the former Department of Health (DOH) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) have been working together to develop six major areas of HPS as defined by the WHO: "school health policy, school physical environment, school social environment, school/community relationships, personal health skills, and health services." They jointly developed a school health policy to create consensus among school teachers and students and to promote community participation in providing health services, so as to build a school environment for learning and fostering healthy living, and to improve the overall health of children and adolescents.
In April 2002, the Director of the former DOH, Ming-liang Li, and the Minister of Education, Rong-cun Huang, signed the "Declaration of School Health Promotion Initiative." On September 13, 2004, the former DOH and the MOE, together with representatives from local governments, teachers and parent groups, signed a MOU to advocate the HPS initiative. 48 schools were selected to launch the program and 120 seed teachers were trained.
From 2005 to 2007, we established a teaching resource development center, a counseling support network, a staff training center, the "Taiwan Health Promoting Schools" website and the "Taiwan Health Promoting Schools Counseling Network" website, media marketing, monitoring and evaluation, and other support systems to provide a platform for schools to share resources and experiences related to the development of health promotion.
From 2008 to 2009, we created the Health Promoting Schools Center to integrate the resources established since 2005. 98 scholars and experts formed a central and local counseling team to provide consistent assistance and services to county and municipal governments and schools at all levels.
In 2010, the MOE developed nine effectiveness indicators for health promotion-related topics and student health and behavior. The health topics mainly include healthy body weight, oral care, vision care, tobacco prevention and control, and betel quid chewing hazard prevention. The MOE also developed a nationwide standardized pre and post-test tool for evaluating the effectiveness of selected topics in HPS action research. Schools at all levels may use the tool to conduct action research.