Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Food, nutrition, health, eating habits and sanitation are subjects which are usually confined among experts and scientists. Inculcating healthy eating is a responsibility shared equally by the parents of growing kids at home and by the teachers in schools where kids go at least 200 days an year. The big question is how far the parents and teachers know about these subjects and poorly informed and ignorant parents and teachers cannot be expected to teach the children correctly and adequately. Going further down, only adequately exposed children can become good parents of tomorrow who in turn can transfer their knowledge and experience to their kids. Thus school teachers are the vital cogs in the education of kids vis-a-vis food related issues. The FDA of USA and the teachers' association in that country are doing wonderful work in training teachers for such a job so that they can train the children in making them practice eating good foods with high nutrition content and adhering to scientific hygiene and sanitation habits. Read further below to understand fully the implications of the program being undertaken in America to train the school teachers.  

"One way to teach kids about food safety and nutrition is to teach their teachers. That's the idea behind a training program the Food and Drug Administration has been running for the past 15 years. "Science and Our Food Supply" is a week-long program held in the summer that brings together teachers from all over the country who teach biology, chemistry, food science and health. Its aim is to improve food safety and nutrition education in schools using a curriculum co-developed by FDA and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), which looks at the science behind issues such as foodborne illnesses.The participants learn about the journey of food from farm to table, basic microbiology techniques, FDA's role in regulating products, new research on food safety, nutrition and nutrition labeling, and food allergies. This year, 32 teachers from 22 states participated and then returned to their own schools to teach the curriculum to students and hold day-long sessions to train their fellow teachers."

It is rather a mystery as to why Indian education planners are ignoring this respect, considering that children form their habits fairly early in their life and undesirable and inappropriate habits imbibed early in life will be difficult to be changed later. A body like NCERT in India can do wonders by introducing basic concepts of food and its allied aspects in text books designed for school going kids at the age of 5-8 years and undertake a national endeavor of training teachers through short term abridged programs at the national, regional and state levels. It can always depend on scientific bodies like CFTRI, DFRL, NIN, NIFTEM. Universities etc to provide experts in transferring the technical information to teachers through well designed programs, especially during vacation times when teachers do not have much teaching load. This is the only way to transform India into "Swacha Bharath" , as being propagated by the present Prime Minister of the country.  



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