To battle malnutrition in children, the Delhi government has decided to introduce mini snack breaks and parent counselling sessions in all city schools.
According to a circular by the Directorate of Education (DoE), schools have been directed to include a 10-minute mini snack break in the school timetable. The mini-break should be 2.5 hours before the lunch break, it said.
Schools have been asked to prepare a weekly planner of snacks offering three food choices every day which may include food items such as seasonal fruits, sprouts, salad, roasted chana, peanuts, etc.
The planner will be displayed in each class.
“Suggested items should be cost-effective. Students must be advised to bring at least one food item mentioned in the weekly planner for a mini snack break.
“Head of schools and home science faculty to monitor implementation of planner during this break. In evening shift schools, mini snacks with low volume and high nutrition should be preferred in the weekly planner,” the DoE circular said.
The department has also directed the schools to hold class-wise counselling sessions in consultation with home science teachers emphasising on the relation between a healthy diet and its effect on performance in academics, attention span, physical activity, comprehension, and growth of children.
It said that the counselling sessions should also focus on encouraging parents and guardians to make low-cost high nutritive value dishes as suggested by home science teachers at school.
“Class teachers maintain a record of height and weight of each student enrolled in the class and update it regularly. This record must be correlated with general health as well as the presence of children in schools so that children at risk of malnutrition may be identified in time and parents may be informed accordingly.
“Alternative dishes with high nutritive values may be introduced in the menu for mid-day meals,” the DoE circular said.
“These strategies will also reduce absenteeism of students in school owing to poor health conditions. It will also promote overall health and development of the students,” it added.
(With PTI inputs)
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