Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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Year : 1987  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 125-7  

School child as a vehicle of health education of parents.

SS Kowli, RS Potdar, VR Bhalerao 

Correspondence Address:
S S Kowli

How to cite this article:
Kowli S S, Potdar R S, Bhalerao V R. School child as a vehicle of health education of parents. J Postgrad Med 1987;33:125-7

How to cite this URL:
Kowli S S, Potdar R S, Bhalerao V R. School child as a vehicle of health education of parents. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 1987 [cited 2022 May 26 ];33:125-7
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Health education is an important aspect of primary health care; the latter is the strategy decided upon to achieve the goal of "Health for all by 2000 AD."[2] In India, the school child forms an important, but so far untapped, avenue of health education of the population. School children of Malavani MHB School had responded very enthusiastically to our action programme of immunization of their under 5 siblings.[1] Encouraged by their response, we undertook a study to see whether the school child is capable of acting as a health educator of his/her parents. The present paper describes the results of that study.


One class of the 6th standard students numbering 54 was educated about the major communicable diseases: tuberculosis, leprosy, scabies, about the immunizations available against communicable diseases for 0-5 year population in the community, and about deficiency diseases and nutritive values of foods. The instruction was carried out by the authors themselves in Marathi (which was mother tongue of all the students) with the help of flash cards, slide shows, live demonstrations of patients and food items. The course of instruction lasted for 2 months with a frequency of 2 classes per week. After the instruction was over, the children were encouraged to disseminate the information to their parents.

The knowledge of the children and one of the parents was tested by interview technique with the help of a proforma before and after the instructions were over. The knowledge was scored according to predetermined marks and was graded as poor when total score was less than or equal to 30%, fair when total score was more than 30% and less than or equal to 60% and good when total score exceeded 60%. The same parent was interviewed before and after instruction. The data thus obtained were evaluated by statistical analysis.


There were 54 students in the class and all of them were interviewed before the course of instructions. However, only 49 students could be interviewed after the course because of absenteeism in the class. The parents of all the students responded to the first call i.e. before the instructions but only 47 responded after the course was over.

[Tables 1] and [Tables 2] shows the change in the knowledge of the school children and their parents, respectively, regarding communicable diseases and food nutrition. There was no significant change in the knowledge about food and nutrition, whereas significant improvement was observed in the knowledge of the children regarding communicable diseases.

[Tables 3] and [Tables 4] shows the correlation between the level of knowledge of school children and their parents regarding communicable diseases and about food and nutrition, respectively. There was a definite correlation between students and their parents' knowledge about communicable diseases. However, no such correlation could be established for the knowledge about food and nutrition.


There is definite evidence that the school child has acted as a change agent in improving the knowledge of his or her parent regarding communicable diseases. However, this was not true for food and nutrition because the school children themselves did not improve in this topic after the education course. Naturally, the information was not effectively imparted to their parents. This could have been the result of the methodology of nutrition education followed in this course.

Just as the primary health care message emphasises that the large proportion of health activities can be undertaken by intelligent laymen,[2] the present study emphasizes that the school children can assume the responsibility for health education of their families.


The authors are thankful to the Dean, Seth G. S. Medical College and K. E. M. Hospital, Bombay, for allowing us to use the hospital data.


1Bhalerao, Vijaya R.: School child as a leader of family, World Health Forum, 1 and 2: 31-32, 1980-81.
2Park, J. E. and Park, K.: Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine, 10th edition, Banarasidas Bhanot Publishers, Jabalpure, 1985, pp. 593-594.

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