Introduction to Safe School

Safe school project-Karnataka


Adolescence mark significant transitions in physiological, cognitive, emotional, moral, social, and other domains. Though most children sail through these transitions, some become stressed, which can lead to psychological problems. They are battling major physical, behavioural and mental health issues and are often turning to addiction (tobacco, alcohol, digital) as a short cut in their quest to find answer to their problem. Therefore, safe school project adopts spectrum approach (Physical, behavioural and mental health and different schools/children at different levels of needs) to promote healthy behaviour among children. Many of today’s and tomorrow’s leading causes of death, disease and disability can be significantly reduced by preventing behaviour that is initiated during youth, through health education, understanding and motivation; and fostered by social and political policies and conditions.  In India, ever-increasing adolescent health problems accentuate the need for safe school program. Safe school project goal is to generate new knowledge which informs the development of safe school model, and accelerates progress towards achieving sustainable development goals by improving ‘preventive gap’ in school health. We will primarily focus on  substance abuse (tobacco and alcohol) – which are the two leading mental health causes of the burden of disease.


Narayan-Health-CSR, Indian Institute of Public Health Bangalore and consortia for tobacco free Karnataka, collaboratively started an initiative to recognize safe schools. Framework criteria for safe schools will be assessed based on set of questionnaire. The survey data will also be used to advocate a set of recommendations for promoting safe schools in India.


The safe school purpose is to generate world-class research evidence on the implementation and scaling up of prevention and promotion of safe schools. A model document will be produced from the pilot project which can be widely adopted by schools, policy makers and practitioners. Safe school project will achieve its goal by addressing three major objectives in three overlapping phases across the life of the project.

  • Inception phase: Development of an integrated safe school plan comprising packages of survey tools and interventions.
  • Implementation phase: Evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and impact of the interventions in the contexts of routine safe school program
  • Scaling Up phase: Evaluate the scaling up of these packages of care at the level of individual schools administrative safe school units (ASUs)/taluks.

These objectives will be addressed with set of priority interventions in schools that are identified in Anekal and Doddaballapura taluks. We aim to compare experiences of the study settings will enable the safe school project to generate relevant knowledge. The safe school project aims to provide sound evidence on strategies to integrate preventive/promotive care within safe school program. We use school life course model approach for developing interventions. By working in partnership with Ministries of Education and Health, academic institutions and civil society organizations, will make an immediate and long term impact on a range of beneficiaries, including adolescents and the health research and systems communities.

There has been a little attempt to strengthen safe schools program in India. However, such attempts are limited when considering the broader Karnataka state or national landscape. Further, some of current efforts are not comprehensive and are sporadic. This safe school project will act as a guide and blue print to scale up in wider geographical areas.

Anticipated outcomes
  • Increased acknowledgement and uptake of findings to influence policy and practice in the state  by the CSR, development agencies and donors, to support scaling up of safe schools in Karnataka and other states 
  • Improved preventive and promotive dimensions for: (a) schools in  Anekal and Doddaballapura taluk or Administrative School Units (ASUs) in which the safe school project will be carried out; and (b) other schools in which safe school blue print have been substantially scaled up, based on the outputs generated by safe school project.
  • Sustainable  research  capacity  in  the  consortia of the  participating institutions to develop, undertake, and disseminate the research to implement and scale up safe school project
  • Sustainable partnerships for future collaborations between the partners and, in each state, between academic partners, Ministry of Education/MoH and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
  Key activities
  • Schools specific/school administrative unit specific situation analysis
  • Create safe school committee at administrative unit level
  • Mid-course evaluation
  • Mobile app development and training of research associate/teachers
  • Selection of schools and orientation to school teachers/children
  • Survey of schools
  • Educational/training interventions
  • Endline survey