Are the school hours preventing students from having meals at appropriate times? How can schools ensure that students eat at a healthy time?
My son, who travels by public bus home, has been instructed by me to have his lunch in school before heading home. His school day ends at 1.45pm... He takes a good breakfast at 6am, and prefers to pack for recess (simple - at least two slices of peanut butter bread or kaya bread and a packet of Milo)... He packs biscuits for a snack. We see no issue with this arrangement.
Start school at 9am? Only children from families with a maid and stay-home parent or grandparents can do that. Most working adults have to reach the workplace by 9am, even 8am.
Recess should be brought forward instead. Set it at 9am to 9.30am for breakfast, and 12pm to 12.30pm for lunch... And do not forget that teachers need to eat, too!
Perhaps the school can cater tea-break food during the snack break. As a parent, I don't mind paying more for decent food. Or extend the 10-minute break to 15 minutes... Currently, children are expected to multitask: eat and study at the same time.
Sometimes, teachers may shorten this or not give a tea break owing to class activities. How can children learn effectively if they are hungry?
Jasmine Floreal Liew
I don't think a lot of us practise using box lunches. It helps to ease the high congestion in queueing for food. Most schools want to produce a conducive environment for studying, hence eating is not prohibited in class. Eating in class is possible if the food pupils bring in are easily consumable, like sandwiches or buns.
It's not true that it is impossible to have a hearty breakfast early in the morning... Breakfast is actually the most important meal of the day.
I started preparing breakfast daily for my family once I understood its benefits... All of us changed from not having appetite in the morning to needing to eat well before we start the day.
However, eating a good breakfast is no justification for having a very late lunch that disrupts dinner and bedtime.
Starting school at 9am is not workable for working parents. Asking children to eat a heavy breakfast at 6am is also not workable. Schools should seriously plan for lunch breaks in school rather than let the children go home for lunch...
Schools should expand the size of the canteens. Even if a lunch break is given, the 30-minute break is still a mad rush for all students, as they would be spending at least 15 minutes queueing and may not even get a seat to eat their food.
In what ways can consumers be better protected against defective or counterfeit products purchased online?
There is a need to educate the consumer to buy from reputable online sources that offer refunds, and also to punish the online platforms that allow sellers to sell products from unverified sources.
If the supplier is overseas, you can't do anything. If it is local, the "lemon law" can apply. It's best to buy online from reputable companies with exchange and refund clauses.
Sellers online are mostly accommodating when it comes to exchanging or refunding defective goods at the consumer's request, but postal or shipment cost is at the expense of the buyer. It is more difficult to tell which products are counterfeit online, and there is nothing more consumers can do after sales are closed. And the Consumers Association of Singapore cannot do much to intervene.
Wilkie Ong Keng Soon