Resilience and wellbeing are being included in all teacher trainings in Bihar, and the first orientation of 40,000 teachers has recently been completed. The Education Department of the state is integrating wellbeing into the state training curricula and textbooks and orienting teachers in early identification and psychosocial support. This was stated by Sajjan R, Director – SCERT, Govt of Bihar, at a conference titled “Promoting Adolescent Wellbeing in Every School: Bihar Leads the Way”, held recently in New Delhi.
CorStone, a global non-profit organization based in USA that works to foster inner health and wellbeing in marginalised and vulnerable youth, has entered into a partnership with Bihar government and this event in Delhi was aimed as a brainstorming session amongst policymakers, educators, and mental health experts to help device strategies to meet the urgent need for promoting inner well-being and health among adolescents.
It is pertinent to mention that all Government Middle Schools and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) in Bihar will receive a wellbeing programme through a three-year collaboration between CorStone and the Education Department, Government of Bihar. The partnership will expand CorStone’s Youth First and Girls First resilience programmes across the state in order to enhance the holistic wellbeing and development of adolescents as per the New Education Policy | NEP, 2020.
Under the partnership, CorStone and the Education Department will work to institutionalise wellbeing training within the government structure. The CorStone curriculum will also be adapted and integrated into all school textbooks by academic year 2024. CorStone will provide curriculum, training, technical advice and monitoring support to the Education Department through 2025 to help ensure adoption and sustainability of the programmes across all 38 districts of the state. At scale, the programmes are expected to reach approximately 35,000 government schools and 534 KGBVs, providing wellbeing skills to over 3.5 million Standard VI-VIII students annually.
The Youth First and Girls First programmes by CorStone integrate a resilience and adolescent health curriculum delivered through an innovative teacher-facilitated peer group model. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity and thrive.
The programmes integrate evidence-based practices from the fields of emotional resilience, positive psychology, social-emotional learning, and conflict resolution with adolescent health training to improve mental and physical wellbeing, school engagement, self-advocacy, social skills and relationships among youth. First launched in India in 2009, these have been implemented in select districts in Bihar since 2013.
“Since 2013, we have reached thousands of students and teachers across Bihar and documented extensive evidence that these programmes transform the emotional resilience, mental and physical wellbeing, and education outcomes of adolescents. We are very grateful to have received support from the Government of Bihar at every step of the way,” said Steve Leventhal, Chief Executive Officer, CorStone. In alignment with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, CorStone’s endeavours will complement Manodarpan, a program by the Ministry of Education (MoE) that seeks to offer psychosocial assistance to students, teachers, and families, promoting mental health and emotional well-being.
Sajjan R, Director – SCERT, Bihar, added, “ We hope to reach every middle school in Bihar so that students can learn about their strengths, become resilient and stay mentally healthy in difficult times. The Department is committed to integrating wellbeing into the state training curricula and textbooks and orienting teachers in early identification and psychosocial support. We are happy to work with CorStone to ensure that this becomes a reality.”