The Goa government has decided to rope in mothers of students to taste and test the food served to their children under the Mid Day Meal scheme here. In the Mid Day Meal scheme proforma, which is put in public domain by the State Education Department, it is mentioned that “instructions have been issued to all the heads of the institutions to involve mothers of the students for tasting the meal before serving to students.” Few schools in the past had witnessed instances of food poisoning through this central government sponsored scheme aimed to control drop out of students at primary and school level.
According to the Education department, there are no designated dining halls for schools due to which students have to sit in ‘verandahs’ and have their meals during school hours. While this scheme is implemented in 1,501 schools across the state, the department has conceded that only seven schools have proper arrangement for washing vegetables, pulses, grains and cleaning used utensils. The food is prepared either by Self Help Groups or Parent Teachers Association in schools.
The government has now decided to give state level training programmes for Self Help Groups to be organised in collaboration with Goa College of Home Science. “The cooks cum helpers would be trained by Institute of Hotel Management. Besides, all the school Headmaster/ Headmistress will be given one day training regarding sensitisation of Mid Day Meal by the State government,” the department said.
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To ensure uniformity in the food that is served in meal scheme, a weekly menu has been prepared at the state level by Department of Education, which is displayed in schools across he state. The department has said that calorific value (450 calories and 12 gram of Protein to every child at primary level and 700 calories and 20 gram of protein to every child at upper primary level) is also being ensured as samples of meals are collected during inspections and analysed for their nutritive contents.