Vol. 3, Issue 10 (2016)
Significant skills for effective teaching of food and nutrition in secondary schools in Zambia
Author(s): Loveness Makota Banda, Joyce Malambo Chikandi
Abstract: This article is an extract of one of the objectives from the master study entitled “Significant skills for effective teaching of Food and Nutrition in selected secondary schools of Kitwe District of the copper belt Province Zambia. The background of the paper emanates from the fact that there has been the persistence of infectious diseases and the mushrooming of non-communicable diseases due to lack of knowledge and skills in Food and Nutrition among the public in general. This is so because most Zambians take health living for granted (Begum, 2008) . This scenario has been compounded by a number of factors at play. Some of which include but not limited to the following: poor or non-existent sanitation and public health services which allows infections to spread, Poverty and inadequate food lows people’s resistance, limited medical understanding means that there are few effective treatments, all these facts result in a high incidence of infectious diseases and premature death, the Western diet and life style are becoming more and more popular with everyone who can afford them, sedentary work and cars are in demand, Western style high- fat- fast food outlets are multiplying, the use of tobacco and alcohol is increasing, and with all these changes, so is the incidence of degenerative disease. Thus the poorest countries in Africa Zambia inclusive now have the double burden of unconquered infectious diseases and rising incidence of degenerative illness (WHO, 2010) . His article therefore argues that the effective teaching of Food and Nutrition in secondary schools is not only relevant but also an issue that should be treated with the sense of urgency because it can preserve life and reduce premature death. In light of the above challenges, this study sought to establish skills and methods for effective teaching of Food and Nutrition. In achieving this task, the study employed a case study which adopted both quantitative and qualitative paradigms. Data for the study was collected from ten (10) secondary schools in Kitwe District including the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) and Mukuba University. The total sample size was fifty – five (55). Questionnaire data were analyzed using Microsoft excel and STATA that were interpreted into tables, frequencies and graphs whilst qualitative data were analyzed using emerging themes and sub-themes. The study found that the first step is to make the pupils understand Food and Nutrition as a preventive care are indispensable part of their daily life. As the saying goes prevention is better than cure, prevention is cheaper while curative is very expensive. Therefore pupils should know that modern health and nutrition Education can help them in their daily life and can also help them find work after school. With the newly coming method of teaching Food and Nutrition using hands on; pupils must be looking forward to preserving their health and to prevent diseases. Pupils should know that a balanced diet and good life style keeps non-communicable disease at bay. Hence, Schools provide an important opportunity for prevention, because they provide the most effective methods of teaching and reaching large numbers of people which includes children, youth, school staff, families and community members. Teaching is an activity that requires professional knowledge as well as pedagogical skills. The teacher, therefore, requires knowledge in terms of critical awareness of a range of pedagogies. The teaching process involves specific actions; hence, a teacher must have a repertoire of methods, strategies, approaches and techniques applicable to different teaching – learning situations. Hence, healthy food and improved nutrition should be a high priority on every school agenda because of the positive effect on the child well-being, and subsequent enhanced learning ability and academic performance. Through effective teaching of Food and Nutrition as a compulsory subject from an early stage in the revised curriculum of “hands on” pupils can greatly improve their life qualities and live at full potential. Pupils who learn Food and Nutrition will realize that people, who live healthy, live at their full potential physically and mentally, and they will extend their love to people around them, to the community and to the whole Nation (Caballero, 2001) . Therefore empowering all pupils with Food and nutrition skills, knowledge, values and attitudes will improve health qualities of the nation. This is in line with the philosophy of Reconstructionism which states that the school must play active role in changing or reconstructing society and pupils must be active participants in making positive changes in the existing social situation. (Andeyinka, 2000) . Thus the study made the following recommendations (1). The government through the Ministry of General Education should buy the necessary equipment, materials, and ingredients needed for practical lesson in schools. (2) The government through the Ministry of General Education should make Food and Nutrition a standalone subject and make it a compulsory subject from primary level to tertiary level. (3) The government should start training teachers in Food and Nutrition as a standalone course in Colleges and Universities (4) the government should also start conducting surveys on the practical methods of Food and Nutrition.