Reducing inequalities and welcoming diversity
Quality education is the foundation of health and well-being. To lead a productive and healthy life, we must all have the necessary knowledge to prevent disease. Children and adolescents need to be well-nourished and in good health to be capable of studying.
Education is a catalyst for development and intervention in health. The 2015 Incheon Declaration confirms that education develops knowledge, values and attitudes that enable citizens to fully lead healthy lives, make informed decisions and address challenges locally and globally.
Quality education is an efficient way to reduce social inequalities and promote inclusion of all, without exception. The role of education becomes particularly relevant when we live in times of pandemics such as COVID-19 and AIDS, which result in increasing inequalities.
For example, UNESCO data show that higher mothers' education levels can improve child nutrition and immunization rates and reduce preventable child deaths, maternal mortality and HIV infection.
The Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report, 2020) concludes that there is a need to broaden understanding of inclusive education to include "all students, regardless of identity, background or ability".
Strategy on education for health and well-being
UNESCO's objective, as presented in the Organization's strategy on education for health and well-being (2016), is to support the contributions of the education sector in responses to HIV and promote access to quality health care, inclusion and well-being, especially for children and youth. Thus, UNESCO is committed to strengthening the links between education and health, which reflects the growing international recognition of the need for a more comprehensive approach to school health and coordinated action across different sectors.
UNESCO has worked closely with the education and health sectors of the federal, state and municipal levels of government; with civil society organizations (CSOs), including universities, multilateral and bilateral international organizations, and the private sector. This wide range of partnerships has allowed carrying out various actions related to the following subjects: health education, health promotion, prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), healthy eating, the promotion of physical activities at school, as well as to other initiatives that contribute to the reduction of vulnerabilities, particularly among students, indigenous populations and LGBTQIA+ people in Brazil.
Health education and well-being for Indigenous peoples
The United Nations and UNESCO have developed actions on health and well-being education for indigenous populations. These actions were produced in a pedagogical, multilingual, and intercultural manner to strengthen health education for indigenous peoples in their mother tongue.