This paper updates the evidence of the mutualistic relationship between education and health and serves as a post-COVID-19 call for action to enhance the health and well-being of learners and teachers at school towards transformative education in the Asia-Pacific region. It underscores the need to revitalize health-promoting education systems that enable every school to become a health-promoting school in the Asia-Pacific region, thereby building on lessons learnt from COVID-19 national and regional education sector challenges and responses. It also points education ministers to the following two priority areas: 1. Immediate learning recovery, for example, social and emotional well-being through transformative teaching and learning in skills-based health education; mental health and psychosocial support services; and a rigorous and safe school reopening process. 2. Medium and longer-term transformation of education systems, for example, a safe, inclusive, health promoting school culture and climate that is enabled through cross-sectoral partnerships for health-promoting schools; with enhanced teacher capacities. Additionally, this paper highlights how health promoting education systems could be more prepared for, and become more resilient to, COVID-19 like challenges and any other emerging shocks that threaten the education sector and school communities in the future.
UNESCO Office Bangkok