The education ministry has decided to distribute textbooks on food and nutrition to primary, middle and high school students from fiscal 2016, according to ministry sources.
The move is intended to enhance school education regarding food and nutrition, a ministry official said.
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry will shortly set up a panel comprising academics and nutrition teachers to produce comprehensive, cross-curricular textbooks that cover topics ranging from the importance of food and table manners to food culture.
In line with the Basic Law on Food Education enacted in 2005, the education ministry has enhanced the content of food education in each curriculum subject. However, the content of food education differs among subjects, such as social studies, science, health and physical education, and home economics. Enthusiasm toward food education also varies from school to school.
Teaching plans for food education have been worked out in many cases by nutrition teachers in charge of supervising school lunches, but there are few such teachers in some areas.
For this reason, the panel will consolidate the content of six food education subjects now being taught in different curricula, to produce textbooks that teachers in general can use to provide food education. The panel will be established next month at the earliest.
The six subjects are the joys of eating; desirable ways to take in nutrition for the good of one's health; fostering abilities to judge food quality and safety based on correct information; gratitude toward food producers; table manners; and dietary culture.
The ministry plans to first produce food education textbooks for primary schools in fiscal 2015, with distribution set for the following fiscal year. They will be followed by textbooks for middle and high school students.
"We want to make it possible to provide food education even in social studies and science classes," said a ministry official involved in the project.