In an attempt to improve the quality of free meals provided by the government, the state government of Goa decided to include mothers of students to taste and test the food served to their children under the Mid-Day Meal scheme. As per changes in the Mid-day meal scheme which is usually 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.
This comes in the wake of multiple instances of food poisoning after which many students have dropped out of schools. 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.
A number of cases have been reported lately, as about mid-day meal poisoning, which has sometimes claimed the lives of many children.
Though the scheme has been implemented over 1,501 schools across the state, the department has accepted that only 7 schools have a healthy arrangement for washing food items and cleaning used utensils. The meal for the children was often cooked by self-help groups or parent teachers association in schools. These self-help organisations will be given state level training programmes organised by the state government in association 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 sensitization of Mid-Day Meal by the State government, the department said. To make sure that there is uniformity in the meals a new weekly menu has been prepared at the state level by Department of Education.
India re-launched the Mid-day meal scheme in 2001, after the court order to serve a nutritional meal in govt schools with the minimum content of 300 calories and 8-12 grammes of protein. Across India, the mid-day meal scheme provides about 120 million children with free lunch.