Education

Reintroducing School Feeding Programme

The Federal Government of Nigeria under the then President, Goodluck Jonathan piloted the implementation of home grown school feeding beginning with 12 states selected from the six geopolitical zones.

The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) was aimed to improve the health and educational outcomes of public primary school pupils.

At the beginning of the programme the federal government said over 300 million meals were served to more than 7.5 million pupils in 46,000 public primary schools in 22 states

It uses farm produce locally grown by smallholder farmers to provide children nutritious mid-day meals on every school day. the programme links local farmers to the education sector by facilitating their access to the school feeding market.

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with state governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding programme during this period of COVID -19 without compromising  social distancing policies.

To cushion the effect of the second wave of COVID-19 the president had announced some palliatives, which included the sustenance of the school feeding programme.

Among all the palliatives by the president to help people during this time, school feeding programme has raised more doubts in the mind of the people

Some questions in the mind of some Nigerians is how would the policy work during the second wave of pandemic, how do the vendors move about during this time? Who assesses the supposed food quality? and who monitors the distribution? how the data of the pupils to be fed and their geographical locations would be generated, who the contractors are and details of their locations.

But the federal government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and social development has repeatedly justified the sustenance of the programme saying it would ensure the nourishment in schools.

According to the Ministry in a statement, the programme, which about to start this month named reintroducing school feeding programme all over the country assured people not to exercise any fear.

Now that the programme has come to stay, federal government should request that states should map out exercises in order to trace schools with available data sources to get to the right pupils in the rural area

Federal government should engaged the school management boards most importantly work with existing school registers to know the number of pupil to prepare for

Federal government should make sure that the vision to makes it possible to feed a child one quality meal daily for the development of their mental health should be the hallmark of the program without fear or favour.

Though, the programme is funded by the federal government to be implemented by the states government, federal should monitor the program to ensure proper implementation.

Also, on the part of the people handling the preparation of the food, proper hygiene must be observe and the authority should sanction any cook that handle its with levity.

Olubunmi Agboola

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