– 956 students being catered for in Region 10
Single mothers are being proritised for the National Breakfast Programme contracts, which will see them supplying meals to 956 grade six students in 29 primary schools across Region 10. The $267 programme was officially launched on Tuesday by Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand at the Mackenzie Primary School. The initiative forms part of the national feeding programme which totals $2 billion and will ensure that all students at the grade six level receive a warm and nutritious breakfast every day.
The aim of the programme is to ensure that children in all regions have sufficient nourishment to promote learning and ease the financial burden on parents. In her address to the audience, Manickchand said the aim the programme will eventually extend to all classes but because Grade Six is an exam class, it was deemed appropriate to commence there.
“Today, Region 10 is getting that programme and it will continue and let me tell you the facets of the programme. Every single grade six child will get breakfast. Why grade six? Because they’re in an exam class. So, we have to start and I think that will be the best place to start,” the minister stated.
She said it will also assist those students whose parents cannot afford to send them to school fed.
“What is the state’s duty? What is the state’s duty when we find that we have young children who need our help? It is our duty to brace. It’s our duty to help as far as our finances will allow and that is not disputable. The research around the world says that children whose bellies are full learn better.”
One teacher at the Mackenzie Primary school, Miss Ishola expressed gratitude for the programme.
“I feel it’s a pretty good initiative, especially for the less fortunate children because many times we have children coming to school without lunch or something to eat and us, the teachers would have to take something out of our pockets to buy them something to eat. So, I believe this school feeding programme is a great initiative and kudos to the Minister of Education,”
The minister urged the suppliers to maintain a standard in the preparation and distribution of the meals
“I will not be eating breakfast in my house, for the next year, I’m eating breakfast at these schools and it best be something that I can eat. I’m saying that to say if my children can’t eat it, I don’t want your child to eat it. And so, we will try very hard to maintain a standard on these programmes that hopefully will see our children getting what we intend,” the minister said.
The initiative also forms part of government’s plan to expand the national feeding programme in all primary schools across Guyana.