Schools to keep out junk food

 

Schools to keep out junk food

DUBAI — Student-run nutrition clubs will monitor the quality of food served in school canteens from this academic year, and submit their reports to the Ministry of Education.

By Preeti Kannan

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Published: Sat 23 Aug 2008, 1:25 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:09 PM

This is the first in a series of measures being taken by the ministry to crack down on junk food sold in schools.

In a year-long pilot project, students from five Madares Al Ghad (MAG) or ‘Future Schools’ will form nutrition clubs with 15-20 members each. They would keep a check on the quality of food being served in schools, the nutritional value and the hygiene in the canteens. This project follows a survey in the 50 MAG schools conducted between March and May this year, in which a majority of the 15,000 students and parents expressed discontent over the food served in canteens.

Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, Director of Student Activities from the Department of Sport and Health Programmes in the Ministry of Education and Youth, told Khaleej Times, “We will mandate schools to offer healthy food and ban junk food. This is an education campaign and we want to encourage students to form nutrition clubs to monitor the canteens.

'They would submit reports to their school principals, who would forward it to us.”

“Ministry officials will train them on nutrition issues during Ramadan and provide tips on how to monitor their canteens. We also want them to educate their peers,” he added.

Students would start supervising the canteens once they open after the holy month.

The survey conducted in MAG institutions also revealed that students and parents were unhappy with the limited variety of food available in the canteens.

The ministry will provide the students with a list of foodstuff permitted and banned in schools.

The ministry will soon provide all private and public schools with canteen guidelines and it would be implemented in coordination with education councils.

“The idea is to encourage schools to understand what to sell in their canteens. It should be their decision, but our role is to educate them. We want them to self-monitor and give them more authority and responsibility,” said the director.

preeti@khaleejtimes.com


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