A pilot programme to offer a nutritious breakfast for students will be launched in 25 schools at the start of the 2019 academic year, Education Minister Dr Aishath Ali announced Thursday.
Parents will be asked to sign a consent form and provide information about allergies, she explained, whilst schools will be tasked with ensuring freshness and safety standards.
Breakfast at schools was a campaign pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and launching a pilot programme was included in the new administration’s 100-day action plan.
The aim is to expand the programme to all 212 schools within five years, the minister said. Under the pilot programme, breakfast will be served in classrooms but long-term plans include developing kitchens and dining halls in schools.
Ten menus have been created with the help of United Nations Children Fund, the Health Protection Agency and nutrition experts. The options include omelettes, sandwiches, baked beans or flat bread and various forms of mashuni (shredded coconut mixed with other ingredients such as tuna and onions), all of which would be served with a full cream milk packet.
Students would be offered three options to choose from each day, permanent secretary Mohamed Saeed noted.
A bid announcement seeking caterers was to be made after the press briefing.
Contrary to popular belief, President Solih’s pledge was not specific to bananas and milk, the minister noted, which was a pledge of former president Mohamed Nasheed in the 2013 presidential campaign.