Sensitization of students about wastage of food at social gatherings
As per the findings of a study on Assessment of Wastage of Food and Ostentatious Behaviour during Social Gatherings in National Capital Region Delhi sponsored by Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, it is estimated that 46% of children below three years are underweight, 79% of children aged 6-35 months have anemia, 23 per cent have a low birth weight and 68 out of 1000 die before the age of one year, and 33% of women and 28% of men have a Body Mass Index (BMI) below normal just because they do not have enough food to eat.
The recommendations of the above study for controlling food wastage focus majorly on education and awareness. The report suggests that people need to be educated about the importance of food. Awareness has to be created about the effects of wasting food and how it affects the society where many are malnourished and hungry. The teaching of Life Skills has become a mandatory part of school curriculum. The importance of food and the ill effects of wasting food should be made a part of the school curriculum so that the children can imbibe the value of food at the young age and develop the habit of respecting food”.
The Board has taken several measures which can be cross-linked to address the problem of food wastage. Schools may use following activities to sensitize children about the need to avoid wastage of food:
- The Board has recently introduced Value based questions in classes IX-XII (Cir.No Acad 21 and 22 dated June 19, 2012). The theme of ‘Controlling Wastage of Food’ may be assimilated under it to sensitize students.
- The Board has published Life Skills Manual for teachers of classes IX-X which have been designed to inculcate Life Skills in students through the activities in areas of Creative and Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Decision Making, Empathy and Self Awareness, Communication Skills and Interpersonal Skills, Coping with Stress and Managing Emotions. Schools may, while designing activities in life skills, stress upon the prevention of wastage of food by counseling students to exercise restraint when ordering or taking eatables. They should not feel ashamed in asking to pack leftover food in a restaurant.
- The Board has also published School Health Manuals in four volumes for classes VI-XII. The activities revolve around six different themes – Knowing your Body, Food and Nutrition, Personal and Environmental Hygiene, Physical Fitness, Being Responsible and Safe and Behaviour and Life Skills. Teachers may emphasize the issue of food wastage and ask students to find out the frequently wasted food items and sensitize them as well as others to use these items carefully. Students may take part in deciding healthy menus and the required quantity of items at their homes or while organizing a social gathering.
- The Board has recommended the establishment of the Eco Clubs and Health and Wellness Clubs in the schools. These can be involved in this campaign to help save food by minimizing food wastage. Students may be told that by minimizing the wastage of food, apart from moving towards achieving self-sufficiency in the food grains, we may also improve our carbon rating.
- In the main curricular areas the theme Food is taught right from class III to class X under ‘Environmental Studies and Science. The contents related to ‘Wastage of Food’ have been included in the syllabus on Health & Physical Education as a compulsory subject up to Secondary stage (Class XI-XII) and focus has been made on avoiding wastage of food. The teachers must discuss the problem of wastage of food while discussing these themes.
- Apart from the above areas, the Co-Curricular Activities such as NSS and NCC, Debate, Declamation, Creative Writing, Recitation, Poster-Making, Slogan, Theatre etc., which have been made compulsory under School Based Assessment, can also be involved in the campaign to reduce food wastage.
Schools are also advised to go through the detailed report of the study conducted by Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi available at: http://consumeraffairs.nic.in/consumer
It is requested that schools may direct all the teachers to adapt material from this Report and assimilate it with their activities/study material so as to encourage students to avoid wastage of food. This will go a long way in assisting the country to contain the problem of food wastage.