By Kehinde Oluwatayo
Home Economics teachers and food handlers in secondary schools across Ondo state have been urged to be abreast of new ways of feeding students.
The Ondo State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Pastor Femi Agagu, who made the appeal at a one-day sensitisation programme, said the importance of food to the overall development of school children cannot be overemphasized.
Agagu who was represented by the Director of Science and Technology in the ministry, Mrs Oluyemisi Olayode, stressed that consumption of right and adequate nutrition enhances learning capacity and boosts the health of children.
He said the programme was to sensitise the participants on how to improve on feeding of students, calling on them to replicate it in their schools.
“The quality of food, the quantity and the environment where the food is prepared will determine the growth of the children. A child that is eating junk is not eating right food and eating food containing starch alone is not healthy, so their diet must be balanced.
“If they consume balance diet, they won’t have to visit the hospital often. They will be healthy, their cognitive ability will be enhanced and they will grow well,” she said.
Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Bunni Alade said food intake in Nigeria is not adequate, resulting in stunted growth and affecting the skills of school children.
Alade who was represented by a director in the ministry, Mr Monday Adebusoye noted that the way food is being prepared in schools is nothing to write home about hence the need to sensitise food handlers on the appropriate way of handling food.
“In society today, the quantity of food intake is not adequate and it is not in tandem with international best practices and this is affecting the health of the children and resulting in stunted growth.
He advised them to embrace home and school gardening where they can plant vegetables, pepper among others so that they will not have to buy everything.
In her presentation, Mrs Temitope Olabode counselled the participants on different meals they can prepare that will give the children balance diet.
The programme was organised by Ondo State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in collaboration with the state Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget.