Laying the foundation for future capabilities

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  • Myanmar youths these days are less prone to engage in physical exercises and more likely to spend time playing online games or watching television.
    While there is nothing inherently wrong with immersing your mind in the digital world, in fact, it is the evolution of newspapers and encyclopaedias into a more interactive format; prolonged exposure can be unhealthy for computer users, youths in particular.
    Meanwhile, cigarette smoking has tripled and tobacco consumption has doubled while alcohol indulgence has increased thrice, with youths under 14 already beginning to drink liquor.
    This data was gathered from a comparison between the school healthcare surveys from 2007 and 2016. In just ten years, there has been a marked increase in negative habits that ruin young people’s health. We must keep in mind that these results were published three years ago and these percentages would have most likely increased further today.
    Youths require a safe and healthy learning environment to develop themselves into capable citizens that will serve as the backbone of the nation’s future. With that vision in mind, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Sports organized the National Seminar on Strengthening Health Promotion School from 12 to 13 June.
    Held in Nay Pyi Taw, the two-day event led with the theme for ‘Physically and Mentally Fit Youth for the Brighter Future’. The seminar focused on methods for dissuading students from bad habits and promoting healthy lifestyle choices.
    This encompassed ensuring schools and universities are free of drugs, no one uses cigarettes, tobacco or quid, combating alcoholism and its negative consequences, lowering traffic accidents, reducing excessive electronic gaming among students, encouraging habits for healthy living, and including reproductive health in school teaching.
    State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also addressed the seminar where she highlighted the need to emphasize rule of law to implement national peace and stability. She pointed out that enforcement for regulating tobacco products was still weak despite laws existing to curtail it.
    The State Counsellor called for innovative teaching strategies to captivate youths as they were naturally inclined to pay attention to new and interesting developments. She also encouraged students to regularly participate in their school’s physical education classes and sports competition. Not only would this make them physically healthier, it would greatly substitute their screen time and foster sportsmanship and teamwork among the youths.
    Teachers and parents must adapt their ways of thinking to embrace the changes in the education system. There is still apprehension against gender, sexual and reproductive education. We must accept that globalization is bringing foreign cultures into our homes and rather than shun their ideas it would be beneficial for us to embrace the advantages they could provide us in the areas of intellectual and perhaps in all round development.
    The student demographic is a sizeable force in our national population and will grow up to be a powerful resource as well. Every parent and guardian must encourage and support the younger generation to keep an open mind and strive for physical and mental growth together. We believe this will lay the foundation for strong capabilities in the future.
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