3 years of hard work and dedication have crowned Al Mamonia School for boys as a gold level winner in the Healthy Schools National Accreditation project. Al Mamonia School for boys is the first male school to be accredited out off 26 other schools that participated in the same level.
Al Mamonia School Principal, Ali Shofieen, said that it all started when Madaba Directorate nominated the school to participate in the Healthy Schools National Accreditation project in the Bronze level back in 2010. Accordingly, we set a plan to introduce the project to the school staff and the local community, so that we can set our objectives and strategy. The school managed to successfully achieve the bronze level, which motivated us to keep on changing the school environment to one that promotes and adopts healthy behaviors within the school community and specifically amongst the students. Ultimately this led to us reaching the silver level in 2011 and the gold level school in 2012.
Principal Shofieen added that at the beginning, the school faced some difficulties in setting health standards, which made the project seem as a very appealing and practical approach in order to achieve this goal despite of the many challenges that we expected, to face, such as fixing the school’s infrastructure and the lack of financial support. Nevertheless, we believe in positive change and in spreading healthy behaviors and practices within the school and the surrounding communities, and therefore by joining the project we took the first step to achieve this goal.
The school’s health teacher, Mohammed Hersh, commented that the project worked on changing the behaviors of the students with regards to issues such as personal hygiene, school environment hygiene, and unhealthy habits such as smoking. Al Hesrh continued to say that the most challenging aspect was the students’ dietary habits, which led us to focus more on the canteen by offering nutritional & healthy snacks for the students and prohibiting the selling of soda drinks and unhealthy food items such as chips.
Al Hersh further added that the local community played a vital and important role in supporting the project by attending all the school’s relevant activities, which was important for increasing the direct communication between the local community and the school’s management required for achieving the objectives that have been previously set. On a personal level the project helped me in developing my career by having the chance to work with different NGOs, in addition to the local community.
The Healthy Schools National Accreditation Project has been conducted since 2008 with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Education (MOE). The accreditation project aims to create health promoting environments within Jordanian schools that reflect positively on student’s physical and social growing, as well as on their academic performance. The project is carried through national health standards that participating schools are trained and supervised to implement successfully.
Yara Musleh , Project Manager, said that the project gives the participating schools an opportunity to work on 10 chapters throughout the academic year for three years , and to be evaluated based on the achievements accomplished by implementing the health standards to develop and maintain a healthy setting for living, learning and working. The ten chapters are : management and leadership, safe school environment, healthy school environment, clean school environment, health education, community and staff participation, health services, social and psychological support, physical activity and diet.
Musleh added that 66 schools from all directorates, including 40 schools participating in the Madrasati initiative, joined the project in 2008/2009, whereby 32 schools were accredited as Healthy Schools. During the 2009/2010 academic year, 65 schools participated in the project, whereby 49 schools were accredited as healthy schools. Furthermore, during the 2010/2011 academic year 68 schools participated in the project, 20 of which are schools participating in the Madrasati initiative, whereby 48 schools were accredited as healthy schools: 6 schools from the gold level (the schools which participated for three years in a row), 26 schools from the silver level (the schools which participated for two years in a row), and 16 schools from the bronze schools (the schools which participated for the first year).
The Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS) has recently announced the project’s accreditation results for the participating schools, where 47 schools out of 61 schools were accredited, 15 schools as gold level winners, 9 schools as silver level winners, and 23 schools as bronze level winners. The accredited schools include 13 schools from the Madrasati initiative and 7 private schools.