Concerned over the poor health of students in government schools across the state, director general school of education (DGSE) Pradeep Aggarwal has asked the authorities to improve the quality of mid-day meal given to the students. He said nutritious food having jaggery and groundnuts should be served to the students.
In a letter to school authorities, the DGSE said: “It has come to the notice that students are suffering from anaemia, malnutrition and weak eyesight which is not only affecting their health but they are lacking in studies too. So it is advised to all schools that they should add some nutritious food items in the mid-day meal being given to the students.” The school head has been directed to maintain a register to record the details of the mid-day meal. In Jalandhar district, over 1.15 students are given mid-day meal in schools.
However, mid-day meal officials say it was not possible to include nutritious food items as they only get `3.86 for a primary student and Rs 5.76 for upper primary student. “We are facing already difficulties due to meagre funds. How can we add more items to the existing menu,” said a block official.
There are nine mid-day meal block officers for 19 blocks in Jalandhar district who check the quality of the meal, but officials say it not possible for them to visit every block. “We need more officials to check the food quality,” said another block official.
IMPROVE CONDITIONS OF TOILETS
Taking cognisance of reports of poor condition of toilets, the DGSE has asked schools to maintain these. The letter states: “Funds are being given by the government and panchayat for maintaining toilets in schools. The school authorities must pay attention to clean and maintain the toilets.”
There are around 1,000 primary and 180 middle schools in Jalandhar district and not even a single school has sweepers to maintain cleanliness.
Earlier, the DGSE told HT that a meeting was held with the finance department and panchayats have been asked to appoint the sweepers in primary and middle schools.
Last year, the Union government released a grant of `1 crore to schools for the construction of toilets under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). In 2014-15, 268 schools were given grants to the tune of around `5 crore for same purpose but the funds were not utilised rationally.