100% focus should be given to student's mental wellbeing, says study

Dubai - The respondents of the survey were a mix of classroom teachers and education experts.

Photo: Alamy.ae
Photo: Alamy.ae

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 11 Jun 2021, 5:03 PM

Last updated: Fri 11 Jun 2021, 5:04 PM

Many teachers believe that the COVID-19 has negatively impacted the child’s ability to interact or relate to friends and peers and teachers in the UAE are working best towards improving mental health and mental wellbeing of students to overcome this emotional stress. Special focus is being given to enhance students mental wellbeing.

According to a research conducted by EVERFI Middle East, there is a need to focus on the importance of students’ mental health and mental well-being considering the pandemic time to deal with the uncertainties of the new reality that they are facing.

The respondents of the survey were a mix of classroom teachers and education experts.

Sheherzad Kaleem, General Manager for EVERFI Middle East said: “The survey findings are noteworthy and managing mental well-being emerges as one of the top soft skills to be taught in classrooms during the pandemic. Teachers also believe that soft skills will be most important in the job market over the next 10 years.”

The survey respondents also suggested soft skills such as healthy relationships, emotional well-being, being kind, family & social values, morals & social interaction, anger control, spreading positivity, and emotional health.

Education experts stressed on students need to be taught a range of soft skills. They placed communication skills and problem solving skills as very important for students to learn.

Many teachers and experts believe that a lot has changed during the pandemic which has taken toll on students mental health. Mariya Attarwala, teacher at a leading school in Dubai told us that students were expected to adapt to a lot of new things, which has certainly taken a toll on their mental health.

“It is therefore certainly important that the mental health of students is the core focus area in times as these and even moving forward. Afterall, ‘A healthy mind is a healthy body’. We are glad that the issue of mental health is now been given the due weightage as just physical health.” Mrs Attarwala added.

Amena Lohawala, teacher at a leading school in Sharjah told Khaleej Times that Students mental health has always been of importance and during unprecedented times as these, it has become even more significant.

“As teachers, it is our responsibility to ensure good mental health of students. As such, our school focuses on several initiatives that help boost the mental well-being of the students in addition to the physical health.” She added.

Many schools in the UAE also have a designated full-fledged counselling department to address mental and emotional stress not only for the students but also teachers.

Antony Koshy, Principal, Global Indian International School Dubai said: “We have a qualified counselor that takes care of the psychosocial, emotional and other related issues of students, parents and teachers. Students and teachers are encouraged to practice “heartfulness” every day. All the teachers are trained from time to time on the techniques and methods to ascertain that they are equipped with the right tools and awareness for building a culture of wellbeing in their personal as well as professional life.”

Experts believe that these skills have a long lasting impact that extend well into students’ college years and their lives beyond.

“By the same token, cognitive and social functioning, psychological wellbeing and physical and emotional health are all metrics of a student’s ability to succeed at university.” Akshatha Achar, Educational Consultant, Hale Education Group.

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