A National School Health and Nutrition Policy is being developed through collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute and the Ministry of Education And Human Resource Development.
Discussion on that draft policy was held at a one-day workshop last Wednesday.
Chief Education Officer, Stephenson Hyacinth briefed the attendees on the aim of the meeting which he described as two-fold.
“This exercise is of great importance to us and it should help us to promote healthy eating and healthy activities in our schools. Looking at healthy eating and healthy activities from that perspective, we would recognize the two-folded venture here. We need to ensure that our students are given the proper meals that will in fact build their capacity to learn, to concentrate and to go through the entire day without one being hungry for lack of a proper meal.”
Hyacinth further discussed the objectives of the school health and nutrition policy.
“This policy is one that is going to revolutionize the whole learning and teaching process at our schools. The aspect of healthy eating and the whole aspect of physical activity must be incorporated in every subject area that we teach. It’s going to influence the way we look at children and the sort of work we need to do with our students at school. It’s going to influence the way we teach as teachers and we ourselves have to model such behaviour if we want them to stimulate us as they do. We have to be agents of our own teaching. It’s also going to influence the curriculum in specific ways that we are not going to make it a discreet subject but rather a more integrated subject, in that we build it into all the various subject areas.”
The Chief Education Officer noted that the policy will also address physical activity and make sports education mandatory.
He also made special mention of how the policy would affect vendors at schools.
“These are persons who, on a day to day basis, visit our schools and sell different things to our students and the question is what do they sell to them and are the foods nutritious. We will have to put in place the necessary policies to ensure that they keep in line with the whole policy framework and the process that we develop within the Ministry.”
Participants of the workshop were nurses from various health districts, principals and teachers.