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Government to focus on nutrition standards of students in poor areas

By Liu Meng (Xinhua)

09:57, January 06, 2012

Two new systems will be established to ensure food and financial security in the government's project for improving nutrition among rural students during their compulsory education period, officials said yesterday.

On October 26, a project aimed at improving the nutrition of primary and high school students in poor regions was set up by the State Council. As part of this new project, the central government will allocate more than 16 billion yuan ($2.53 billion) annually to provide daily three-yuan meals for students in 680 cities and townships around the country.

Tian Zuyin, deputy director with the education ministry's finance department, said in an interview with yesterday that a real-name student information system will be established to prevent false claims for the meals, and possible corruption or waste, ensuring the money would be used on students.

A monitoring and evaluation system for students' nutrition and health will also be established to track the improvements in students' nutrition.

Supervision departments will sign contracts with schools, enterprises or individual food suppliers, and tests of food samples taken from students' meals will also be conducted to ensure their safety and nutritional value, said Tian.

"Food security is what we are most worried about. The State Council has put the issue as its first priority," he said.

Tian also said that the government has a complete set of measures in place to deal with students' schooling problems facing rural students.

As to whether the three-yuan standard is enough to improve students' nutrition, Sun Guangqi, a deputy director of the UNESCO Division with the Ministry of Finance, said that three yuan only goes to covering the costs of the students' meals, and the government has other preferential policies to improve the condition of school cafeterias.


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