President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the government has equally focused attention on improving the nutrition level of the school children while ensuring a quality education. He added that it is compulsory to create a healthy future generation.
The President was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the nutrition and healthy life programme at Mahanama Vidyalaya in Thirappane last morning (24).
The government spends a large sum of money to improve the nutrition level of the children. The President also visited the exhibition organized to promote indigenous foods. Under the nutrition and healthy life programme the school children will be provided a glass of milk and herbal congee.
He also declared open the newly built Mahindodaya Technical Laboratory at the Thirappane Vidyalaya. The President handed over a set of musical instruments to the Pahala Kala Vidyalaya of Anuradhapura where the students requested the President to provide musical instruments for them when they visited Temple Trees recently.
While noting that children's health is vital for the nation's progress, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday stressed that he strongly believes that proper nutrition helps give every child the best start in life.
"Nutrition for a Healthy Life," the national nutrition promotion program for school children aims to help children develop the skills they need to understand the importance of nutrition and also provides schoolchildren with a glass of fresh milk and a nutritious meal every day.
The President said: "We believe that awareness and education are powerful tools to ensure that children understand the value of nutrition and physical activity to their health.
"Today, we provide children with equal opportunities and facilities for education irrespective of where they live. We also provide them uniforms, books and school equipment free of charge.
"All these aspects are important to develop a child, but these efforts will not yield the desired results if we fail to bring up a healthy child." President Rajapaksa said that he strongly believes that the parents, teachers, the government and the society in general had a collective responsibility to ensure a healthy future generation. He said this was why the government was launching the above program which will not only provide children with a nutritious and a healthy meal, but, will also strive to make all relevant sectors understand the value of nutrition through awareness.
The President also emphasised on the need to provide children with an education which is holistic in nature.
He urged both teachers and parents to provide freedom for children to engage in extra curricular activities without confining them to books. The "Nutrition for a Healthy Life" program also aims to improve the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of school-age children, parents and teachers by educating them about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
The program will also have a post-evaluation process to gauge its success and make improvements when necessary.