Last year, the project of free meal in ZEP schools had been launched. However, following the hospitalization of many children due to food contamination, the activities were ceased. Now, the Ministry of Education intends to come forward with a new strategy: having the food prepared on the premises of the schools to ensure hygiene codes are respected. Next step: constructing kitchens in the ZEP schools.
Construction of kitchens in four ZEP schools
Pupils of the ZEP schools will again receive hot meals during lunch meals. Last year, after the Ministry of Education had come up with this initiative, implementing it in January 2013, they had encountered certain problems: a group of children had experienced health problems after having eaten the food given out to them. This time, they are ready to bring in improvements, having learnt from last year’s troubles. To prevent any case of food contamination, they will ensure that the meals will be prepared on the premises of the schools themselves. The schools will thus be equipped with adequate kitchens. The construction of the appropriate infrastructure has already begun in 4 ZEP schools.
Last year’s awkward situation
The new project was interrupted just some months after its implementation when several students of a school located in Bambous were hospitalised as a consequence of having consumed contaminated food which was prepared by a “snack” found in the vicinity of the school. The hygiene requirements were deemed to be strict, but, seemingly not everyone would follow them. To the utter shock of parents, E-coli bacteria were found in the contaminated food.
Improvements And More Investments
In order to prevent such cases whereby the food caterers do not abide by the hygiene conditions, the meals will be prepared at the schools. The new project will need much more funding though: already, Rs 7 millions had been invested for the distribution of the meals from the 14th January to the 15th February of 2013. For now, the new endeavour will be launched in only 4 of the ZEP schools as a first phase, namely the schools situated in Pointe aux- Piments, Aimé Césaire, Bois-des-Amourettes and Cascavelle.
Until now, the Ministry of Education has been choosing the caterers for the responsibility of the meal preparations. For instance, at Pointe-aux-Sables, the company that was opted would require investments of Rs 325 355. Later, the ministry chose for another one, which bagged a contract of Rs 1 214 298. At the Renganaden Seeneevassen school, the food caterer has also been replaced by another one: from a contract of Rs 455 530 to Rs 903 785. At Riche Lieu Government School, the firm replacing the previous one now has a contract amounting to Rs 1 210 625.