The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is concerned that a number of children are not complying with the School Nutrition Policy.
President Rudy Lovell is reporting that many students were not bringing to school approved snacks and suggested that the Ministry of Education meet with parents on a regular basis to help them understand the significance of the initiative.
Lovell told Barbados TODAY in an interview: “There are reports that some students are complying while others still need more time to meet compliance. This process must be driven by parents. If it is to be successful, parents must take the initiative to provide their children with healthy snacks and lunches. Continuous consultation and sensitisation at the parental level are needed; a one-off meeting would not suffice. The ministry would have to emphasise the policy to the parents,” he said.
The National School Nutrition Policy was introduced at the start of this new school term by the Ministry of Education in an effort to address the unhealthy lifestyles of students.
When school resumed last month following the Easter break, several parents reported that they were in support of the policy but said healthier alternatives were too expensive. They said it will take time for some students to adjust as they had developed an appetite for certain foods.
Meanwhile, Lovell said that although the ministry tasked teachers with monitoring what students eat, they would not be searching bags for unapproved foods.
“While the union supports this policy in principle, our support does not involve teachers taking on additional responsibilities such as searching bags and confiscating items. Some teachers were fearful that they would be called upon to do so.
“Teachers may be able to supervise in the primary school setting with children in infants or reception but not in secondary school. Even so, I don’t think teachers would police the policy to the extent that if a child takes out something not on the approved list, a teacher would say you can’t eat this or that. No one knows what that child would have had before coming to school and if that is the only meal they had for the day,” he added.