Government cannot feed children in schools, says minister

Lira-The government lacks the capacity to provide food for school children, the State Minister for Youth, Mr Ronald Kibuule, has said.

“Let me make it clear, government on its own does not have the capacity to facilitate feeding in schools,” he said yesterday during celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child in Lira District.

He was reacting to a petition by school children to government to provide food to children in schools.

In the 20142015 Budget, government allocated Shs1.7 billion to the education sector. However, top on the priority list was the enhancement of teachers’ salaries, with emphasis on primary school teachers. There was no mention of the issue of feeding.

“If the money was available we would be glad to meet that cost but it is not. The money that is available is being channelled to areas that are of top priority,” Mr Kibuule added.He said government needed the support of partner organisations such as like United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Vision and Plan Uganda to enable them implement the matter of feeding children in schools.

UNICEF and Save the Children released a report this month revealing that about 2.2 million children below the age of five suffer from stunt growth in Uganda.

Currently, children in schools under the Universal Secondary Education and Universal Primary Education programmes are paying for meals in fees that Ministry of Education officials deem illegal and warn that they should not be solicited.

“Charging those fees is not right. Those schools should not be doing so,” cautioned Dr Yusuf Nsubuga, the director of Basic and Secondary Education in an interview with the Daily Monitor.

2010 pledgeIn the December 2010 during the general campaigns for the 2011 presidential elections, President Museveni promised that his government would consider providing lunch for pupils in UPE schools. This sparked off a fight with the then Interparty Cooperation(IPC) president, Dr Kizza Besigye, who accused Mr Museveni of duplicating his ideas in the presidential campaigns.

kdidas@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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