The education department has launched a special drive to check the sale of junk food in schools. The Punjab Child Rights Commission had earlier banned fast food in schools and asked the education department to monitor the implementation of the order.
Following this, the education department formed a special committee and issued directions to all private schools last month. Sources said many private schools have not been complying with the directions due to which the education department has decided to launch the field inspections at the schools.
District education officer (secondary) Gurbhajan Singh said that special five-member committees, comprising a principal of government and private schools in each block of the district, have been formed that conduct surprise checks at schools.
“I along with my team personally conducted inspection at four private schools at Kapurthala and Phagwara on Monday. But no such violation was found at schools so far,” he said, adding that the education department has also planned to hold awareness seminars at schools to sensitise the students about the bad effects of the fast food on health.
The education department also issued a revised notice to around 350 private schools and over 1,000 government schools in the district last week asking them to ban fast food on their premises, failing which a departmental action will be initiated against school management.
According to the directions, school canteens can only serve water, milk, and juices (without added sweetener), vegetables, fruits, cereals, lean meat, fish, poultry products and yogurt.
Meanwhile, schools have also been asked to prepare a nutrition chart for students, which should reflect the students’ cultural diversity, food preferences, and special dietary needs.
“We have also directed private schools to provide information about the nutritional content of the food served on the school campus along with the district administration’s policies on its website,” DEO said.