"FREE MEAL" APPLICATION 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR PRESCHOOL STARTS ON FEBRUARY 6Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer stated that they have completed the preparations for the free meal application, which they will implement gradually for 5 million students as of February 6, when the second term of the 2022-2023 school year will begin.
Emphasizing that the Ministry of National Education continues to support students with social policies to increase access to education, Özer said that they accelerated the work on the recommendation to "provide free lunch or nutritional support at schools" at the 20th National Education Council convened in December 2021, and that preparations in this regard have been made. Özer underlined that the scope of the free meal service, which has been implemented since the 1980s, has been expanded day by day in the last two decades and that they increased the number of students benefiting from free meals from 1.5 million to 1.8 million at the beginning of the school year. He stated that they will work to increase it to 5 million starting from the second term of the school year and will take concrete steps towards increasing the equality of opportunity in education.
Pointing out that the free meal application to students is an important support program, Özer said that they will start the free meal application from preschool education. Minister Özer shared that they have sent the Guideline for Meal/Nutrition Preparation and Distribution, which includes the procedures and principles of the free meal application, to 81 provinces and that they will start the practice of giving a daily meal for five days a week to children in all preschool education institutions as of February 6. Özer stated that as of February 6, 1 million 450 thousand students attending public schools will start to benefit from one meal of nutrition service.
Noting that a free meal will start on February 6 for students who attend primary schools with joint classes and kindergartens and students in regional boarding secondary schools, Özer said that the application will be started in other schools as soon as possible.
Stating that they have allocated necessary budget for the kitchen needs of the kindergartens that will prepare meals in their kitchen, and the schools and institutions that have a nursery class, Özer said that the meal service for the schools who are unable to prepare meals in the kitchen will be provided through purchasing from vocational high schools, teacher houses and other public institutions affiliated to the Ministry of National Education.
Sample menus have been prepared
Nutrition service processes in schools were included in detail in the Guideline for Meal/Nutrition Preparation and Distribution. These processes are "menu management", "inspection processes (food safety and hygiene practices)", "procurement and storage", "production (preparation and cooking)", "dial / nutrition distribution" and "after-service processes". The guideline was created with reference to the current legislation and studies of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
In order to meet the daily energy and nutrients adequately and in a balanced way, care will be taken to ensure that the foods that children consume are of good quality and in sufficient amounts. Within the scope of nutrition services, menus will be planned in accordance with the principles of healthy nutrition, and the nutritional content that students will need will be met, as well as training will be provided to gain healthy eating habits.
Dietitian support for schools
While preparing the diet, attention will be paid to low salt consumption in accordance with the relevant programs of the Ministry of Health. Artificial sweeteners will not be used in desserts.
The menus will include milk and herds, meat, eggs, legumes and oil seeds, bread and cereals, vegetables and fruits, which are essential for a healthy diet. The meals distributed to the schools will be checked in order to see if they are suitable for the menu lists and basis weights determined weekly by the commission that will be formed at the schools.
Sample menus in accordance with the principles of balanced diet were prepared for preschool education institutions by the Ministry and sent to the provinces. Preparing their own menus schools will receive dietitian support from provincial and district public health centers.
Breakfast will also be provided, menus will be published on the website
The ministry recommends choosing the lunch option in schools with one shift education. In these schools, the breakfast menu can also be chosen in line with the decision taken with the families. The breakfast menu or the lunch menu can be used for the morning student group that provide double shift education by taking the opinions of the families and arranging the school's meal time according to the menu type. The Ministry recommends afternoon student groups in these schools to choose lunch menus with decisions taken by discussing families, breakfast menus can also be chosen. The weekly nutrition list, which will be prepared at schools with the support of a dietitian, will be published on the school's website.
Commissions will be established
A commission consisting of at least one kindergarten principal, a school principal with a kindergarten class and, if possible, a school principal who produces nutrition will be established under the chairmanship of the deputy principal responsible for the basic education unit or the branch director in each province and district. The commission will provide guidance and supervision on the processes related to free meal application periodically.
Permission will be obtained from the parents of the students who will receive meal
Attention will be paid to cleanliness and hygiene during the planning, preparation and implementation of the process application in schools. Permission documents will be obtained from the parents. In the document, parents will notify whether the student has any allergies or sensitivities related to nutrition in written.
The menus and the nutrition programs will be prepared by taking special conditions of students into consideration. The Ministry of National Education asked the governorships to take all necessary measures for smooth implementation of the application. The points specified in the Guideline for the Meal/Nutrition Preparation and Distribution will be strictly followed.
Click here to access the Guideline for Meal/Nutrition Preparation.