Sustainable Development Goal # 3
By: Aleesha Sheikh
The foundation of a successful school begins with a supportive social structure, an adequate physical environment, high quality instruction and programs and positive community partnerships. However, the United Nations sustainable development goal for good health and well-being at all ages looks different globally. In some schools around the world, education about good health surrounds the topics of water sanitation and the importance of immunizations, whereas in other places it touches the subject of mental well-being. Despite these differences, the pandemic has shown that in rich and poor countries alike, a health emergency can push people into desperation.
We know that ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being is important to building prosperous societies, but how can we as individuals help implement this goal into our own schools?
You may start by promoting health awareness, protecting your health and the health of those around you and making well-informed choices. As a student, you have the power to contribute to the social-emotional environment of your school. For example, advocating and raising awareness for important social issues, starting clubs that create a safe space for all types of individuals to grow, and by breaking down visible barriers that you see in your school.
Implementing good health and well-being for all ages in Ontario schools does not stop at education. The curriculum must go beyond traditional health classes that are taught in the earlier years of highschool. The need for good health and well-being does not simply end at a particular age, in fact it is essential for individuals of all ages. Resources and education need to be available for both students and staff within the school at all times, such as by implementing “well-being mentors”. Each mentor could be assigned specific students and staff members, their responsibility being to check-in with these individuals frequently to ensure that they are having a positive experience in their environment. Ontario highschool curriculums should cover social justice education skills and competencies. This includes the highly prevalent topics of interdependence, social responsibility, perspective-taking, multicultural literacy, and community engagement.
Remember that good health and well-being does not just stop at your school. You can raise awareness in your community about the importance of good health, healthy lifestyles as well as the right to quality healthcare services, especially for vulnerable populations. It is never too late to hold your government, local leaders and other decision makers accountable to their commitments to improve people’s access to healthcare.