First-of-its-kind Health Education Centre to come up at Chandigarh govt school

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A first of its kind initiative, the Chandigarh Health Education Centre (CHEC) will be set up in the Government Model High School (GMHS), Sector 22, this year, as authorities plan its initiation by December 1. The project will be launched by the UT administration in partnership with the Chandigarh Rotary Club. A tender will be finalised within the next couple of days.

As per the proposal, the facility should be able to impart health education to at least 1.5 lakh students of government schools every year, initially. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
As per the proposal, the facility should be able to impart health education to at least 1.5 lakh students of government schools every year, initially. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The novel initiative seeks to impart unconventional health education among the city’s government school students. Rotary Club will provide exhibits costing around 1 crore to the centre,which include high-tech holographic models.

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The project started in 2017, when Rotary International Chandigarh submitted a proposal for establishment of CHEC. After the then UT administrator’s approval, Dr Atul Sachdev, the then head of department of general medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Sector 32 and Dr JS Thakur, nominated by Rotary Club, visited education health centres in USA and submitted their report in 2017 that a similar centre be set up in the city along the lines of the McMillan Centre in USA.

As per the proposal, the facility should be able to impart health education to at least 1.5 lakh students of government schools every year, initially. It should have at least six dedicated teaching rooms with a capacity of 75 students each and an auditorium with a capacity of 150 students. The focus of the centre will be on general health, oral health, nutrition/physical activity, drug/alcohol/tobacco abuse, pregnancy/STI prevention and social and emotional health.

Speaking about the importance of this project, UT director of school education Harsuhinderpal Singh Brar said, “This centre will create a cycle of learning. Children will be educated about healthy practices and they will in turn educate their parents and relatives. Teachers will also educate other teachers. Our aim is that the learning shouldn’t be just a one day visit to the centre but it should continue in the school curriculum as well, while the practical experience from the centre visits will enhance its understanding.”

The education department had pitched the CHEC as an ‘innovative project’ with the Centre in the project approval board meeting of Samagra Shiksha Scheme 2024, chaired by the secretary of the Union Ministry of Education. It was noted that the government has approved the project as first of a kind approved under the scheme. The central government has approved a sum of 50 lakh for this year with an understanding that an additional 1.2 crore will be considered for the next year based on recommendation by senior officers who visit the completed project. It was also conveyed that such a project has the potential of being replicated across the country, therefore the UT administration must ensure that the project is developed and made functional within this financial year.

The UT engineering department has taken approval for construction of the centre at a cost of 71 lakh. UT finance department has accorded concurrence to meet salaries of the 28 employees that will be employed here at a cost of 1.04 crore per annum.

The UT director school education in consultation with director health services and Rotary Club will draw up the curriculum for the centre and complete the training of its staff by October 2024. It has also been decided that no admission fees will be charged from the students and it will be kept free.

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