Teachers in Romania proactively engage in health promotion despite ad-hoc national policies: Schools4Health policy mapping

By Schools4Health consortium

The ad-hoc list of Romanian policies that relate to health promotion in schools, as mentioned in the Schools4Health survey and roundtable, suggest that there does not appear to be a strong focus on the issue of health and wellbeing in Romanian schools. However, teachers can take initiative to introduce topics in the classroom that don’t appear in the national curriculum, in agreement with inspectors specialised in that theme. Teachers can, therefore, be proactive themselves in covering topics relating to health promotion in schools.

The Romanian Schools4Health report indicates that “there are a range of policy measures that can contribute to promoting health in schools, but none deal explicitly with the topic.” It sets out a number of these policies that relate to health promotion in schools. The Law of National Education (2011) for example stipulates that physical activity and sport is a compulsory subject, to advance “the principle of promoting health education.’’ 

At the same time, teachers and other stakeholders have noted that it does not include recommendations for students to practice leisure time physical activities and the role of physical activity in developing social skills, which it is not part of the national curriculum description. The Romanian report mentioned the National School Sports Olympiad, although it has been noted elsewhere that it is not necessarily the best instrument to promote health education, as it involves already active and skilled children.

The Romanian report mentions that a new education law was implemented in 2023, and that special schools are being established for children with different abilities. Furthermore, two strategies are being implemented in schools related to a screening programme for cardiovascular diseases that targets teachers and school staff, and another for human papillomaviruses (HPV). 

The report also identifies a programme called “A warm meal in schools’’ that is being implemented in some regions across the country (although not at a national level). The European Child Guarantee was also mentioned as a relevant policy area that can, e.g., give impetus to initiatives to ensure free healthy and nutritious school meals, and other measures that can be taken through schools to support children and youth in vulnerable situations. 

About the Schools4Health mapping of health promoting school policies in the EU
This article is an extract of the Schools4Health ‘Report on policy and practice to strengthen the Health Promoting School approach across the EU’. A key objective of the Schools4Health project is to encourage and enable public authorities and other relevant actors to move from health promotion in schools, towards applying more holistic Health Promoting School approaches. This is supported through the initiative’s policy component, which seeks to raise awareness, mainstream and scale up Health Promoting School approaches among policymakers and practitioners, and to engage them in efforts to integrate this approach in their national/sub-national contexts. It means bringing together different stakeholders in policy and practice, across levels of governance and sectors, to optimise the contribution that schools can make to the health and wellbeing of students, staff, and the wider communities.

As a first step, the Schools4Health consortium focused on scoping the current policy landscape across different participating municipalities, regions and countries influencing or impacting school wellbeing. This was done by identifying and bringing together key actors in the respective partner countries to discuss the broader policy context around health promotion in schools, and identify what is required, from a policy perspective, to introduce or strengthen the implementation of the Health Promoting School model in school settings.

Visit the Schools4Health website to access all resources from the project https://schools4health.eu/  

Posted on 14/05/2024 by Schools4Health consortium

"Project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA). Neither the European Union nor HaDEA can be held responsible for them."