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Many Private School Pupils Moving To Public Schools Because of Homegrown Feeding Delicacies



By Praise Chinecherem

Programme Manager, Homegrown School Feeding Scheme in Anambra State, Mrs Eriken Uzoamaka on Friday said government owned primary schools in the State is witnessing population increase following introduction of school feeding programme by the federal government.

She said parents of some pupils in private schools in the state have withdrawn their children to public schools due to quality of delicacies pupils in such schools were being served.

Uzoama made the disclosure in Awka while fielding questions from reporters on the sidelines of a two-day capacity building workshop on Enhancing Social Protection Programme in Nigeria, organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ).

She explained that the cooks were recruited from communities where the schools are located after being certified and trained in food safety and hygiene to provide catering service in the 21 Local Government Area of the state.

She said, “There is increase in the population of pupils in public schools as many children ran away from private schools to enroll in government schools. Many of them are no longer missing schools, instead they are rushing to attend classes.”

Uzoama however regretted that some pupils no longer benefit from the programme following death of ten cooks who were yet to be replaced.

She also decried high cost of food items in the country which she said was further affecting the quality of the food being prepared by the cooks.

She added, “All the government primary schools in the state should be benefitting from this programme but due to challenges in the programme some schools are not benefiting.

“Each cook cater for about 150 pupils and they are being paid by the national level. So if you do the arithmetic, about 150 pupils multiplied by 10 cooks, are not benefiting.

“Since the inception of the programme in 2016, about 10 cooks have died and it is affecting the programme in some schools. We’re yet to replace them because it is only the national that can recruit and replace them.

“Another challenge is the high cost of food items in the country which the cooks are really complaining about and it’s making it difficult for them to give us adequate meal per child.

“The outcry by the cooks informed the federal government decision to review their package to N100 per child. Though it’s yet to be implemented, but we’re hopeful it will happen soon.”

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