|NST - 16 August 2007 - School Milk Programe: 11 years later, problem persists By : Shamini Darshni
BANGI: Eleven years ago, a researcher found weaknesses in the school milk programme, including poor storage and inconsistent deliveries. Fast forward to 2004 and in another study, she found that nothing much had changed. "Schoolchildren failed to get the stipulated amount of milk, or the milk was not delivered according to the schedule set by the Education Ministry," said Prof Dr Aminah Abdullah of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia of the 1996 study.
That study had quoted another study she conducted in 1995, commissioned by the Education Ministry, which recommended that a new milk delivery system be introduced as the milk was not being delivered on schedule. On the 2004 study, Aminah, the dean of the science and technology faculty, said she found the same result: Suppliers were delivering milk four to five times a year instead of the eight as requested by the ministry.
"If you keep milk at 50º Celsius, it will last for four months. At normal room temperature, it will last between six months and a year. How the suppliers are storing the milk, we don’t know, but when you stack milk cartons one on top of the other, the temperature will change. Proper storage and transportation is a must," Aminah told the New Straits Times yesterday. The same study looked at milk delivery in three national schools and two national-type schools in Hulu Langat. The study also polled teachers in charge of the milk programme in the five schools:
Hmm .. why are we like this. Is it so difficult to have a protocol for doing this? Again I feel we are doing this for the sake of doing it. Is it too difficult to ensure the money the government is pumping to feed our children be used effectively? Is it too difficult to take the necessary actions of storage to keep the milk fresh? Are we like just zombies handing out milk brainlessly with little concern for freshness, health and general well being ... Do we have kemahiran hidup teachers here?? Aiyaa.... tak tau lah ...
- 40% did not check or taste before distributing
- 20% of teachers would discard spoilt milk immediately
- 40% would return spoilt milk to the supplier and demand a fresh supply
- 40% would report the bad stock to the senior assistant, the supplier and the district education office.