Domestic bursars and matrons across the country have been urged to limit the use of artificial spices when preparing meal for students.
“Although some of you will not agree with me on the use of artificial spices, do not rely heavily on it. Make use of natural species such as ginger, garlic, among others, which are good for their health and growth,” Felicia Agyeibea Okai, Western Regional Director of Education, reiterated.
“You are responsible for the health and well-being of the students entrusted in your care for the smooth-running of the school,” she added.
Madam Okai was speaking at the 8th Biennial Conference of the National Association of Domestic Bursars and Matrons in Takoradi.
The five-day conference was on the theme: ‘Ensuring the Provision of Nutritious Food in Free SHS Feeding, Using Locally Produced Foods – The Roles and Challenges of the Domestic Bursars and Matrons’.
She encouraged the matrons to educate the students on healthy lifestyles, especially on the type of food they take in, to prevent the spate of non-communicable diseases in the country.
She said heads of schools can organise ‘A Time with the Matron’ as way of getting to know the concerns of the students with regards to food.
“Healthy students are better learners. Research has shown that nutritious meals are connected to excellent academic achievement,” she said.
Madam Margaret Asamoah, President of the National Association of Domestic Bursars and Matrons, expressed the association’s unflinching support for the Free SHS programme.
“We are willing to collaborate with other stakeholders to bring an end to these challenges and ensure successful implementation of the programme,” she said.
She suggested a risk allowance or an insurance policy be given to the kitchen staff at the various schools who are exposed daily to hazardous conditions.
Mrs. Josephine Essie Van Ess, Founder of the association, called for proper communication, understanding and trust among the key stakeholders in the schools.
Also, she said there must be a provision to allow domestic bursars to purchase some local agro-produce and all other perishables which are abundant in their areas of operation so that the cost will be effective and students will have their balanced meal.
Nana Akosua Gyamfuaba, Queen mother of Nyankrom, urged the matrons to store the ingredients in preparing food properly and explore the use of local food, especially the local rice.
Also, she said they should introduce the intake of fruits and vegetable at least once a day for the students.
She encouraged the PTA in the various schools to support the kitchen with storage facilities and other equipment to back the available ones, and ensure smooth delivery of their operations.
Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, encouraged the bursars and matrons to be bold and speak up on their challenges to the school authority.
“If you keep quiet on the challenges you face at the kitchen, it will affect the quality of food prepared for the students, and this will not augur well for the growth of our children”, he said.
He commended the bursars and matrons for being professional and holding the fort despite the challenges in recent times on school feeding in the various schools across the country.