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450,000 students to receive snacks under gov’t meal program

Australian food and drugs authorities are expected to share with Jordan their final analysis of Medjool dates samples suspected of being the cause for at least three cases of Hepatitis A, discovered r
(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Ministry of Education will begin providing free date-filled cookies to students in areas of poverty starting on October 17, the ministry told Jordan News.اضافة اعلان

The official spokesperson of the Education Ministry, Ahmad Masafa, told Jordan News that “this meal helps to strengthen the children’s immunity and health, and raise the level of their academic performance and reduce lethargy, in addition to developing and consolidating healthy eating habits among students.”

“This semester, there are 450,000 students covered by this program, from first to sixth grade, in addition to students enrolled in public kindergartens,” Masafa said. “We have almost 2,316 schools participating in the project, across 34 directorates of education and three camps belonging to UNRWA.”

The spokesperson explained that distribution to the southern governorates will begin on October 17, followed by the northern governorates on October 24, and the central governorates on October 31. “We want each and every directorate to get equal amounts of nutrition and that supplies are distributed evenly,” he underlined.

For her part, Hala Mohammad, a public school teacher, commended the government’s decision, voicing her belief that this will have a “great positive impact on the students”.

“Some students come to school without having had breakfast,” Mohammad contended, citing financial circumstances or parental neglect. “This affects their academic performance because a lack of nutrition means a lack of focus and concentration.”

“I believe that choosing dates, in particular, is a great choice,” the teacher said. The vitamin-rich dates will help “students feel full” without resorting to “unhealthy” alternatives, she said.

Similarly, Abdallah Zghoul, who has children in the public school system, stressed the need for providing students with health meals and to change their eating habits.

“As a father, I know how hard it is to get children to eat healthy food, and I can say that this is a great decision (and) a step towards changing the eating habits of children,” he told Jordan News.

“When children see their classmates eating healthily, they might be encouraged to do so, too,” he said. “You know how children like to imitate each other — let them learn good habits from their schools and classmates, why not? Eating healthy is a really good habit, I believe.”

“We as parents, in cooperation with schools, should work on instilling and reinforcing healthy lifestyles among children,” he concluded.

The school meal project comes in light of the return of face-to-face education at the beginning of September.

The government, in cooperation with the World Food Program and the Jordanian Armed Forces-Arab Army intensified their efforts to introduce the project, with the aim of providing school children with meals. The provision of date-filled cookies is only the first step of a broader effort to provide free school meals to students in poverty-stricken areas.

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