Tuck shop operators sensitised on healthy eating | 22 August 2020
A group of tuck shop operators have been learning more about their roles and responsibilities as service providers in schools.
They did so through a two-day workshop held this week.
The training was also aimed at giving them an overview of how to link up with the school’s curriculum in reinforcing classroom healthy eating education as well as incorporating local produce in their inventory. For the latter, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development partnered with the Ministry of Fisheries & Agriculture.
In her opening remarks on the first day of the workshop, the principal secretary for Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Odile Decomarmond thanked the tuck shop operators for the service they provide in schools.
She noted that these sessions will provide tuck shop operators with the opportunity to discuss some of the challenges and difficulties they have been having while running their business especially during the Covid-19 outbreak where they all had to adapt to the new rules and regulations placed by the schools.
She continued by saying that the workshop will also provide everyone with the opportunity to put forward suggestions in regard to how the ministry can implement further food safety measures.
She said it is important for the operators to acquire as much as they can from the training so that they can better their services in schools in terms of nutrition, service, healthy eating among others.
The training is crucial in ensuring that the services being offered in schools meet the minimum required standards, are not too business-oriented but more importantly support classroom healthy eating education.
Through the training, the operators are learning more about the National Nutrition Policy and how to effectively use it.
One of the main points of the training is to make the tuck shop operators see the importance of serving local produce to students.
“The reason the Ministry of Agriculture is doing this workshop is to show them some of the services that the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA) has to offer such as partnerships between local farmers and the school garden initiative where fruit trees are planted to benefit the students,” said Linetta Estico, chief executive of SAA.
She noted it is important that the tuck shops have local produce to sell to students, adding that tuck shop operators through the Ministry of Agriculture can liaise with the farmers association where they can be provided with fruits and vegetables at an affordable rate.
On her part Brigitte Labonte, the school health promotion coordinator, noted that the tuck shop operators have welcomed the idea of selling fresh produce to students.
“The choice to go healthier in what they sell depends entirely on them but we are providing them with the necessary information and giving them the link between farmers so that if they decide to do it they can,” said Ms Labonte.
On their part, all the tuck shop operators echoed the same thought by saying that as long as they can get local produce at a decent price then they will have no problem selling it.
In recent years surveys conducted have shown that 16% of school children are overweight and 9% are obese. It means that 25% of our children have unhealthy body weight.
Consumption of fruits and vegetables at least five times a day has also declined with 70% of students consuming unhealthy snacks and fast foods at least once a week.