Wednesday, February 01, 2012
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WHEN a student walks into school, he or she wants to see a clean environment, efficient teachers, well-equipped classrooms, clean toilets and delicious food in the canteen.
What’s the point of keeping the school compound clean when the canteen looks like a dumpster?
The canteen should be kept clean, too. In most canteens, the utensils and equipment, from the tables to the pans, are in poor condition.
Houseflies roam everywhere and cockroaches crawl under the tables. Clogged sinks and drains are common sights.
There are cases where one batch of students finishes their recess and there is not enough food left for the second or third batch.
There were occasions when I had to rely on food I had brought from home.
Another important issue is the quality of food served. I wonder if any guidelines have been set for canteen operators.
The nasi lemak served in my school canteen is a miserable half scoop of rice, with three pieces of anchovies, with their innards still intact, and a small egg. We pay about RM2 per plate for this.
A plate of mee goreng, minus the fish cake, egg and bean sprouts, is sold for RM2. Chicken rice, served with a miserly piece of chicken, costs RM3 per plate.
Are these ingredients so pricey or are school canteens making big profits at the expense of students?
How is it that the mee goreng and nasi lemak sold at mamak shops are cheaper, and the portion larger and tastier?
All canteens should serve a variety of food. We are a multicultural society which is used to roti canai, mee soup, keow teow goreng, thosai and vadai. These food items have nutritional value and whet the appetite of students.
I urge the officials of the education and health ministries to carry out spot checks on school canteens.
If the food consumed is bad, we produce low-quality students, too.
Canteen operators must be more responsible and offer food choices that cater to the taste buds of all students.
The authorities must ensure that students benefit the most.