Parents are unhappy with the quality of mid-day meals served in the city’s civic schools. In a three-month study, conducted by the Parent-Teacher Associated United Forum in 50 schools, 60 per cent of the 200 parents surveyed were unhappy with the meals’ quality.
The government introduced the mid-day meal scheme in 2001. According to the scheme, all government schools must provide students a cooked, hot meal containing a minimum of 300 calories and eight to 12 grams of protein for at least 200 days a year.
The civic body runs 1,162 schools in Mumbai.
“The parents are from disadvantaged backgrounds — they find it hard to make ends meet — yet even they felt the meals were of poor quality,” said Arundhati Chavan, chairperson of the forum.
The forum has members from over 160 aided and unaided schools and works towards ensuring better communication between school administrations and parents.
Chavan said dissatisfaction with the meals was the highest in South and East Mumbai schools.
However, parents of children studying in the five schools provided meals by the Iskcon Temple said the food was of good quality.
The survey also found that in 10 of the 50 schools surveyed teachers were taking home the biscuits meant for students.
Civic officials admitted quality could be an issue. “This is a possibility, but we have not received any serious complaints,” said Arvind Hire, deputy municipal commissioner (education). “The meals are supplied by several agencies, so there are bound to be variations.”