ACTIVITIES

School

Catalogue of the school activities

On 17 January 2019, the Minister of Education, Marco Bussetti and the Minister of Health, Giulia Grillo, signed an integrated policy document promoting health for schools whose principal aim is to contribute to disseminating education on correct lifestyles among students and introduce the promotion of health in school curricula.

In this context, the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) has long had a multifaceted interaction with the world of schools and now, for the first time, is conducting a systematic review of the activities to offer guidance in taking future decisions addressed to students and teachers.

This Catalogue is a first attempt to summarise the initiatives put in place by the different departments of the ISS in the past few years, most of which are still valid and replicable. One especially important activity falling under the recent definition of “third mission” particularly stands out as it reflects a strong institutional commitment that is not yet sufficiently leveraged and whose full scope is not entirely known, even within the Institute itself.

The survey included a total of 42 projects in specific areas and 8 multidisciplinary projects. Each project incorporates numerous types of activities already implemented but some of which are still under implementation, for example the distance learning projects.

To facilitate consultation, the Catalogue is broken down into 6 sections, although there is some overlap between subject areas. The sections are ordered according to the number of projects they include (the Dual Education and Work-based Learning System alone counts more than 50 projects), while the initiatives that make up each section are listed in alphabetical order. At the bottom of each initiative, there is the indication of the ISS department of reference and the contact person. The lessons are: – Pluridisciplinary Initiatives (8 projects with more than 350 activities); – Lifestyles (19 projects); – Infectious and non-infectious diseases (12 projects); – Research as a Profession (6 projects); – Donation (3 projects); – The Environment and health (2 projects).

In order to get a quick overview of the information, in the table of contents, every initiative is preceded by the colours of a traffic light to indicate if it is available and replicable; available and replicable upon request; concluded and non-replicable. For greater details, reference should be made to each single card: the type of activity; the reference target (students, teachers, parents), the type of school (nursery, primary, or lower and upper secondary school), the date of implementation, the link to online resources and, whenever possible, the number of users reached.

In most cases, the researchers offered to present the activities at school. Some of the events were carried out locally while others involved thousands of users throughout the national territory although they were all mainly addressed to students and teachers. Some initiatives carried out individually by researchers might possibly not be surveyed or they might not appear as activities of transversal interest, meaning that they were not specifically addressed to schools; in this perspective, the catalogue listings underestimate the actual effort made by the Institute in this area.

The great diversity of projects included in the Catalogue is not inducive to making an easy synthesis in both qualitative and quantitative terms. The leitmotif underlying all the activities is the need to put them into context in order to make them effective and to take a participatory approach in adjusting them to the needs of users with a view to meeting their effective needs.

Therefore, the Catalogue is evidence of the considerable efforts that the ISS makes for schools, recognising that single instruments cannot be used separately but only in a communication strategy that is planned and concerted at local level, between schools and the health sector. In this way, we hope that it will be able to usefully provide some food for thought in an effort to boost the ISS’s commitment to promote health in schools in the future.