Life skills

Myanmar

Myanmar’s School-Based Healthy Living and HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Programme (SHAPE)


The issues facing children and young people in Myanmar today are complex and challenging.  Myanmar is experiencing a rapid increase in HIV/AIDS infections, with one of the largest and fastest moving epidemics in Asia.  Young people are at the centre of this epidemic.  In addition to HIV/AIDS, youth are faced with many challenges including other sexually transmitted infections; alcohol, tobacco and other drug use; sexual and other forms of exploitation; and discrimination in its many forms.  Children and young people need to have adequate knowledge, attitudes and skills to solve problems, make informed choices, and protect themselves from harm as they maneuver through adolescence into adulthood.

Educating youth about HIV/AIDS, and teaching them skills in critical thinking, decision-making, conflict resolution, communication, negotiation, and coping with emotions or stress, can improve their self-confidence and ability to make informed choices.  Life Skills-Based Education refers to an interactive process of teaching and learning which enables children and young people to acquire knowledge, attitudes and skills which support the adoption of healthy behaviours such as: taking greater responsibility for their own lives; making healthy life choices; gaining greater resistance to negative pressures; and minimizing harmful behaviours.  Traditional 'information-based' approaches to education are generally not sufficient to yield change in attitudes and behaviours.

The Government of Myanmar recognises the importance of life skills-based education for the advancement of good health practices among youth.  Thus, the Government with support from UNICEF has developed the School-Based Healthy Living and HIV/AIDS Prevention Education (SHAPE) project.  The implementation of the SHAPE project began in 1998 as a non-formal, co-curricular programme for children.  However, the Ministry of Education has adopted SHAPE as the official curriculum for life skills-based education.  It has evolved into a school subject taught in primary, middle and high schools which uses student-centred, participatory teaching and learning methods, and encourages students to practice what they have learned at home and in their communities.

Through the active participation and involvement of teachers, students, school principals, education officials, parents and other community members, SHAPE promotes healthy living and the prevention of HIV transmission.  The content of the programme focuses on a range of health and social issues relevant to children and young people, including HIV/AIDS, personal health and hygiene, growth and development, alcohol and drugs. Every lesson incorporates activities designed to develop skills that can be applied to these issues such as communication, coping with emotions and stress, critical thinking, decision-making, and problem solving.  Life skills-based education is one of many strategies required for behaviour change and behaviour development.  It works best in conjunction with other strategies such as policy development, access to appropriate health services, community development, and supportive and positive media coverage.

With support from UNICEF, the Myanmar SHAPE programme has been expanded – both geographically and to key groups outside of the formal education system – in order to make a broader impact throughout the country.  During 2002-03, a refresher training for secondary teachers on revised curriculum helped to strengthen the HIV/AIDS and drug abuse components, and improve the student-centred teaching and learning methods.  SHAPE PLUS was also formulated to extend the reach of the programme to out-of-school youth  (age 10-14+) and pre-service teachers in training.

A predominantly qualitative assessment of SHAPE conducted during 2002 concluded that there were positive changes in youth behaviour that can be attributed to the programme activities.  UNICEF will continue to be a key player in the acceleration and ongoing quality improvement of SHAPE, and is working to disseminate best practices and lessons learned.


For additional information and sample curricula on SHAPE see "Technical and Policy Documents".

Documents

SHAPE Assessment, 2002
[PDF]

SHAPE powerpoint presentation
[powerpoint]

Skills Based Health Education and Life Skills - The Myanmar Experience, 2001
[PDF]



Documents

SHAPE Assessment, 2002
[PDF]

SHAPE powerpoint presentation
[powerpoint]

Skills Based Health Education and Life Skills - The Myanmar Experience, 2001
[PDF]



 

 

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