Pupils in Anambra Public Schools Rejecting Promotion To New Class Because Of Food – Feeding Scheme Manager

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By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka 

The Programme Manager, National Homegrown School Feeding Scheme in Anambra State, Mrs Eriken Uzoamaka, has regretted that pupils in classes 1 to 3 across public primary schools in the state were rejecting promotion to senior classes because of food.

She explained that the rejection was as a result of the pupils delight on the kind of food they are served which usually surpass that of pupils in classes 4 to 6.

According to her, even those that agreed to be promoted, usually come to their junior class (primary 3) especially on Wednesdays to struggle for food with others. 

Speaking in Awka after a 2-day capacity building workshop on Enhancing Social Protection Programme in Nigeria, organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Uzoamaka said that efforts were on ground to solve the challenge.

She added, “We serve rich food to pupils in classes 1 to 3 as captured in the national homegrown school feeding scheme. That is why even those that agree to be promoted, usually come to their junior class (primary 3) especially on Wednesdays to struggle for food with others. We serve beans and plantains (or with sweet potatoes) that day.

“We are appealing to Anambra State government to support the programme by feeding pupils from primary 4 to 6 and probably include feeding of pre-primary school pupils to curb the challenges and increase  number of pupils in public schools.

“Since the inception of the programme in 2016, about 10 cooks have died and it is affecting the programme in some schools. It is only the national that can recruit and replace them, we have no right to replace them but we have written to inform the national body but they are yet to be replaced.

She cited high cost of food items in the country, saying that it is affecting the programme and the quality of food given to the children. 

While listing other challenges facing the  programme in Anambra State to include death of 10 cooks and the high cost of foodstuff in the market, the programme manager noted that the situation has made it impossible for affected schools to benefit because new cooks are yet to be employed by the federal government.

She added, “The cooks are really complaining and the high cost of food items is making it difficult for them to give us adequate meals per child. This development has made the Federal Government agree to increase the meal price from N70 to N100, but it is yet to be implemented.”

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