Evaluation of School’s Canteen Policy Implementation in Bethlehem Governorate
Nusaiba Khader Daood Salah
نسيبة خضر داود صلاح
Schools play a definitive role in helping young people to build up lifelong healthy behavior patterns and promoting the health and safety of them. There are 1282054 students in the Palestinian schools distributed at 3037 schools. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health cooperates to adapt the school nutrition policy. This study aims to evaluate the school canteens’ policy implementation in Bethlehem governorate. Similar studies are not available in Bethlehem, which makes it a rich area for research. Methodology: An evaluation study was conducted from February 2019 to April 2019 using a checklist and interview questionnaires with the school health officer and canteen workers. The target population of this study was the Palestinian governmental and private schools, which are governed by the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Bethlehem district. A stratified random sample of (49) schools were obtained from the eight zones of Bethlehem governmental and private schools. A check list was used during the field visit to assess the implementation of school’s canteen policy gathers data about socio demographic factors, canteen infrastructure, canteen equipment, canteen nutritional standards and canteen food safety and hygiene. An interview questionnaire was used with the school health officer and canteen workers, to assess knowledge, attitude and practices of school health officers and canteen workers about the school’s canteen policy. Results: The study revealed that, the school's canteen policy implementation in Bethlehem governorate was “Fair” in the majority (71.4%) of schools and “Poor” in 28.6% of them. The majority of school health supervisors were classified into having a “Good” knowledge level, “Good” attitude level and “Good” practice level. While, the majority of school canteen workers were classified into “Good” knowledge level, “Good” attitude level and “Fair” practice level. There was statistically significant differences (p-value < 0.05) between the scores of the sample study members for the status of school's canteen policy implementation score to the variable of school building in favor of old school buildings. However, the result did not reveal difference (p-value ≥ 0.05) attributed to the variables of zone number, schools by students' gender, school level, school type, school property, the presence of a field heath officer, canteen administration, the knowledge, attitudes and practices of schools supervisors and canteen workers. There were no significant differences of statistical significance (p-value ≥ 0.05) between health supervisors in their knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding their age, gender, social status, educational level, job, income level, years of experience and receiving training about canteen management. However, the study revealed a significant difference (p-value < 0.05) between health supervisors in their knowledge regarding their living place. The study revealed that there were no significant differences of statistical significance (p-value ≥ 0.05) between canteen workers in their knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding their age, gender, social status, educational level, living place, income level, years of experience. However, there was a significant difference (p-value < 0.05) between canteen workers in their practices regarding receiving training about canteen management. Conclusions: In conclusion, it was found that the level of school canteen policy implementation for the majority of Bethlehem governorate schools was “Fair”. The Impediments of the policy implementation were the enforcement of canteen infrastructure standards and the insufficient number of field health officers who can provide enough information about school canteen policy and monitor the implementation of it. Also, “Fair” practices level for the majority of school canteen workers due to the lack of receiving training about canteen management.