Education Department Justifies Itself: Meals for Children in Kindergartens Meet the Standards

General Department of education, youth and sport of the municipal Council Chisinau (GDEYS) has reacted following a notification on the Corruption Map posted by a group of parents about the poor quality or expired term of products used to feed children in schools and kindergartens. In a press release, representatives of the municipality say that when the menu is compiled, they consider the menu approved by the Public Health Center and the quantity of products included meets the requirements of the Ministry of Education.

"In order to monitor the daily process of food delivery by economic units, GDEYS checks all indicators of food: quality of products, invoices corresponding to procurement contracts, certificates of quality and conformity, sanitary passport of the car, driver's medical examination and, after that the products are delivered to pre-school institutions. Thereafter, each institution performs checks in terms of quality and conformity and healthcare certificates. Thus, cases of delivery and receipt of poor quality or expired food are prevented by these actions", say officials. Moreover, they invite parents to participate in the inspection of products during deliveries.

As for private kindergartens, GDEYS says that it has no legal tools for their control, especially since there is no database of all private kindergartens (including those set up in the apartments).

“Money earmarked to ensure the meals of a child in general pre-school institutions, under the requirements p.1 in the Order of the General Mayor No.1137-d,  is 18,70 lei (budgetary means -12,45 lei, special means provided by parents - 6,25 lei per day). This money is used to compile the menu for breakfast, dinner, supper and lunch (Annex 2).  Under the decision of the municipal Council Chisinau no.4/6 dated May 13, 2014 (Annex no. 2 p. 3), to diversify the menu, parents have the right to earmark additional money first based on a collective request and then on the request of the kindergarten approved by the leadership of the  GDEYS. As a result, the payment is calculated based on the cost of a day of meal for each institution and the number of days attended by each child (Annexes 3, 4)”, say officials from the Department.

As for the parents’ request that menus in pre-school institutions should be compiled by an expert in nutrition, the Department of Education in Chisinau says that the seat of expert in nutrition is not included in the list of staff in pre-school institutions.

To defend itself, the department invokes many internal investigations conducted in late March in 25 kindergartens in Chisinau.

GDEYS considers that the complaints about the quality of food in kindergartens are not justified, as they comply strictly with the requirements of normative acts regulating this area. The results of the surveys confirm this statement.  (...) Asked about what they would change in the children's menu, 6% of parents demanded meals without sausages (although 4% of them admitted that they consume sausages at home), 43% asked to introduce more fruits in the meals, 17% came with proposals to diversify the menu (rabbit or turkey meat, cabbage rolls, etc.), while 34% of respondents said that they would not change anything. Internal investigations showed that 67% of respondents say they are satisfied with the meals of children in kindergarten, 30% -irresolute,  2% -are not satisfied, and 1% abstained.

The full text of the press release is available HERE.

Ala Revenco, representative of the group of parents who notified several times officials about the poor quality of food in schools, believes that the GDEYS’ reaction is elusive, with references to legal norms, which actually are not respected in kindergartens. "We have not been contacted for a discussion or further information. A study, at least on a sample of kindergartens was not carried out, regarding the real situation in kindergartens in Chisinau,  to make clear the actual amount of food received by children in kindergartens, the  level of  insuring children with nutritional components (proteins, lipids , carbohydrates), as well as other aspects. If you examine the photos on the Facebook page of GDEYS, you will notice that most menus lack fruits and vegetables", explains Revenco.

"This reaction does not mean that they took notice of this case, as I officially filed a petition to the Chancellor’s office of GDEYS, on March 1, 2016”, concludes the woman.