Ana Bertha Quiroz Ballon
This profile was prepared when Ana Bertha Quiroz Ballon was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Ana Bertha Quiróz has designed an educational model which promotes critical health practices and an innovative administrative structure. Health issues are treated within the school's curriculum and through structural changes in the school, such as an on-site infirmary, pharmacy, purified drinking water in each classroom and a lunch room which provides nutritious meals. Currently, Peruvian schools provide none of these basic services. Her model school is unprecedented in Peru, bridging the health and education sectors by directly addressing health problems through both its curriculum and its practices. Teachers receive specialized training to actively incorporate health issues into their curriculum. The students in her school consistently outperform students from other schools in Peru in both health indicators and educational achievements. Ana Bertha's idea is also unique in that a democratically-elected committee of students, staff and parents represent all stakeholders in the process of planning and decision-making for the school's health policies. Her idea incorporates parents into her campaign for health by providing them with training, to reinforce the lessons the students learn in the school. Her model school is one of very few to enlist the opinions of staff, students and parents in making administrative decisions. At a time when Peru's educational system is suffering from a huge loss of interest on the part of the teachers, administrators and students, by providing them with respect and giving them decision-making powers, Ana Bertha's program has been able to inspire tremendous pride and dedication in its staff and students. Policies are more effective because they include the direct and active input of those who will be most affected by them. Ana Bertha is working towards spreading this model throughout Peru, to create permanent and systemic changes in the systems which deliver both healthcare and education to children.