Food banned in school canteens
The Ministry of Education has ordered schools countrywide to stop the sale of foodstuffs in their respective canteens, citing health reasons.
In an interview with The New Times, on Monday, the Headmaster of Kagarama Secondary School, in Kicukiro District, Sam Nkurunziza, said the order came into force at the beginning of this term.
He said some parents who were unhappy with the decision have withdrawn their children from the boarding section.
“The decision was quite unfair because we have students with health problems like those who have ulcers and it’s very challenging to deal with such issues since they are no longer allowed to buy foodstuffs at the school canteen,” Nkurunziza said.
The Head teacher of Lycee de Kigali, Martin Masabo, also confirmed that his school’s canteen now only sells stationery stressing all students are entitled to only eat from the school’s dining hall.
“Having a variety of edible products at school canteens has been enabling students not to go out of school in search of snacks but as time goes, we shall be able to adapt the new system from the Ministry of Education,” Masabo said.
Felix Niyitegeka, the Headmaster of Group Scolaire Kicukiro, in Niboye sector said the ministry’s decision to stop school canteens from selling edible stuffs would help to improve on discipline in boarding schools, as some students were involved in bad behaviour to get funds to buy foodstuffs at their respective school canteens.
In a recent interview, the State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, said the decision was reached by his ministry in partnership with the Parents/Teachers Associations (PTAs) across the country.
He said the decision only affects public boarding schools, and the ministry would carry out continuous inspection of how students are fed in all schools.
According to the minister, majority of the canteens are owned by individuals related to the heads of schools who are merely profit oriented instead of prioritising the health of students. He added that the decision is also aimed at ensuring all students consume nutritious foods in their respective boarding schools as some students from poor families cannot afford to get money to buy food items at the canteens.
He said schools are now required to include all the nutritious food items on their menu, noting it would help all students irrespective of their backgrounds to feed well.
He observed some schools feed students poorly to ensure they resort to buying alternative food items at the canteens.
He encouraged heads of schools countrywide to always strive for better feeding of students by providing them with balanced diet.
Marie Louise Mukampunga, a parent with a child at Kagarama secondary said: “In my observation, the ministry came up with this decision after thoroughly analysing it and parents should not worry about it”.
However, she requested the ministry in collaboration with schools to come up with other means on how best students can best be fed, saying the canteens have also been important to the students’ welfare especially those allergic to some foodstuffs.
Contact email: steven.mugisha[at]newtimes.co.rw