MEC for Education
Corporate Affairs Executive of Dewfresh Pty Ltd
Consumer Education Project of Milk South Africa
SGB Chairperson and Members Present
Educators, Parents and Learners
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am delighted to be here today on this special occasion, namely, the launch of the World School Milk Day with our valued partners - Dewfresh (Pty) Ltd and Consumer Education Project of Milk South Africa (CEP). Today, we are celebrating the World School Milk Day under the theme: “A Glass of Fresh Milk daily makes Healthy, Active and Smart Children”.
Today’s celebrations are made possible by the Public-Private-Partnership whose main aim is to improve the wellbeing of our children who are beneficiaries of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP). This partnership showcases our collective contribution towards the national imperative of providing quality education in our lifetime.
The 1st World School Milk Day (WSMD) was celebrated in September 2000 and has since become an annual event held in many countries throughout the world. This year marks the first time that South Africa joins in to celebrate the World School Milk Day. It should be noted that the World School Milk Day is an initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The day is dedicated to highlighting the health benefits of milk as part of a healthy diet.
As we all know, the Petrus Maziya Primary School is providing daily nutritious meals through our flagship project, namely, the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP). The NSNP is currently benefitting 9.2 million learners throughout our schooling system. The goal of this programme is to make available at least one nutritious meal a day for our children. Research has proven that in schools where feeding scheme is in place, learner attendance has dramatically increased. Overall, the programme enhances the learning capacity of our children so that they can perform optimally irrespective of one’s background.
We have made tremendous progress with regards to the quality of meals since we started. The menus were revised in order to address the enduring poor health status of a growing number of learners by adding milk, ensuring that meals consist of a protein, starch and a vegetable or fruit, provided on a daily basis. It is mandatory that a school meal provides at least 30% of the Required Dietary Allowance (RDA) for learners. Milk is provided at schools once a week as part of the NSNP menu. It is important that learners should have foods from Milk, Maas or Yoghurt group every day to ensure optimal development.
Programme Director; nutrition education has become a key pillar of the NSNP. It aims to expand knowledge about nutrition and promote healthy lifestyles so that learners, educators and parents make better food choices.
Today is therefore an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of milk. So why do we need milk? According to experts, milk is known for its richness in calcium and thus its importance for your bones, but did you know that milk contains more than nine other essential nutrients?
It contains protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fat:
- Protein is important to fight diseases, renew cells, build muscles and maintain healthy hair and nails. That is why your diet should provide enough proteins. Milk is an important source of protein, since each glass contains almost eight grams.
- The source of carbohydrates in milk is lactose which gives energy to the body.
- Minerals and vitamins: Milk is rich in many nutrients that are essential for good health, for stronger bones (Calcium, Vitamin D, Phosphorous), for more energy (B vitamins), for a stronger immune system and for healthier skin (Vitamin A).
- Fats in milk constitute essential fatty acids which are important for body cells, as long as they are taken in moderate quantities.
The benefits of milk are further extracted from from milk products such as cheese, cottage cheese, flavoured milk and yoghurt. Milk consumption is essential in maintaining overall good health.
The DBE has taken an initiative to strengthen and support the improvement of Nutrition Education in schools. As a result, the DBE has engaged with various partners such as Consumer Education Project of Milk South Africa (CEP), Dalton Nutrition (Pty) Ltd, Dewfresh (Pty) Ltd, Kellogg’s SA, Milk Producers Organisation (MPO) and Tetra Pak SA to support the first celebration of the WSMD in various provinces. Schools will therefore be provided with learning materials and information about healthy food and healthy lifestyles on a continuous basis. Learners will also receive milk sachets generously donated by our partners in selected schools.
Due to the large number of schools, we will need more partners to support this initiative in promoting the increased consumption of milk. I therefore take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our partners today in supporting us to carry out today’s message.
Programme Director; learners’ wellbeing is the Department’s apex priority hence the need to protect children due to the fact that their immune system is still developing. Therefore as we continue to protect their health, we further encourage proper food handling practices to minimise the risk and possible non-communicable diseases. Learners should therefore always remember to wash their hands before eating.
I wish to extend my gratitude to the host school, the Petrus Maziya Primary. I am particularly grateful to the School Principal, the School Governing Body and educators in welcoming and celebrating this day with us. Thank you for your hard work and dedication in improving learner performance.
I wish to acknowledge the contribution and commitment of the Provincial Education Department, Districts and school communities, because without them we wouldn’t be able to meet our mandate. My gratitude goes to the volunteer food handlers who dedicate their time and carry the heavy responsibility of preparing the best meals for our learners daily. Rising so early in the morning, particularly in the winter season, to prepare meals for the learners cannot be an easy task. So thank you very much for investing your time to these growing minds. To all learners, I wish you well for the upcoming year-end examinations.
I thank you.