In 2013, the government came up with the school feeding and nutrition guidelines that were aimed to improve the child's health, nutrition and education performance. However, this is yet to be implemented.
Discussions are still ongoing in the Ministry of Education
and Sports to guide the cabinet on the school feeding program. About two weeks
ago, the Minister in Charge of Information and Communication Technology-ICT and
National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunisi, disclosed that the Cabinet sitting on
November 22, 2021, resolved that all Universal Primary (UPE) and Secondary
Schools (USE) stop charging learners any fees once schools reopen in January
The announcement generated mixed reactions from heads
of government schools under the UPE and USE. They were particularly concerned
that the government did not explain how it intends to address the funding gaps
resulting from the suspension of the PTA fees.
This includes the money for feeding learners, which is not provided
under the School Capitation Grant. Now, the Minister for Higher Education, Dr. Chrysostom Muyingo
has called for calm from both parents and teachers, saying that the education
ministry is working on a document they intend to present before the cabinet on
how to address the gaps.
He says that the education ministry will be updating
the public about the decision in a weeks’ time.
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Currently, schools have been collecting cash or food items
from parents to provide meals for learners. However, a number of schools, especially
in the urban areas focused on cash contributions. The Education Act of 2008 mandates the government to provide
inputs through capitation grant allocations to schools, instructional
materials, and infrastructural support.
However, the provision of food is the
responsibility of parents and school communities. In April 2018, the Education and Sports Minister, Janet Kataha Museveni spearheaded the National School Feeding mobilization
campaign for parents and leaders at all levels to ensure that all children get
a meal during their stay at school.
In 2013, the government came up with the school
feeding and nutrition guidelines that were aimed to improve the child's health,
nutrition and education performance. However, this is yet to be implemented.
government makes the changes, the heads of the affected schools have cautioned the
government to go slow especially if it does not have enough funds to ensure
that all the learners get meals at school.
Martin Obore, the national chairperson of the Association of
secondary school headteachers in Uganda and headteacher of Soroti secondary
school, says that the government needs to move slowly on abolishing PTA
funds as it may further compromise education standards.
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According to a 2017 report by the National
Planning Authority, only 33% of the children receive a meal while at school. The
report also shows that urban children are more likely to receive feeding than
their rural counterparts.
Reports from the ministry of education show that
hunger is one of the main reasons children perform poorly in Universal Primary
Education (UPE) schools. It noted that hungry children have poor concentration
and mental abilities, absenteeism, bad behaviour, poor health and end up
dropping out of school.