Parents’ and teachers’ critique of nutrition education in Indian secondary schools
PurposeNutrition education plays a significant role in inculcating lifelong healthy dietary behaviours among adolescents. The purpose of this paper is to understand the opinions of parents and teachers regarding nutrition education in private Indian secondary schools.Design/methodology/approachA cross-sectional, self-administered, paper-based survey comprising both closed- and open-ended questions was completed by 32 teachers and 280 parents who were recruited from five private English-speaking secondary schools in Kolkata, India. Descriptive and cross-tabulation analyses were conducted to compare the responses of teachers and parents. Thematic data analysis informed by template analysis technique was performed to evaluate the qualitative data.FindingsWhile the curriculum was considered interesting and easy to understand, the gendered nature of the curriculum, excessive rote learning and lack of synchrony between the curriculum and school food services were highlighted as shortcomings of the existing curriculum. The need for the dissemination of food skills either through a compulsory food and nutrition curriculum or through extra-mural activities was expressed by most respondents. Both these ideas were indicative of strong support and motivation for modification in the current curriculum.Practical implicationsThese findings emphasise the support for a skills-focussed food and nutrition curriculum to inculcate experiential culinary skills and comprehensive nutrition knowledge in Indian adolescents, thus improving their nutritional and health profiles.Originality/valueThis is the first cross-sectional survey to investigate the views of parents and teachers about the status of food and nutrition education in private Indian secondary schools.