One of the problems faced by the education system has been relatively low school attendance, especially in the hinterland regions. The recent mid-year report released by the Ministry of Finance notes that school enrolment and attendance continue to affect the learning outcomes of a large proportion of the school-aged population.
Data from 2016 indicates that less than 80 percent of this segment of the population was enrolled in school, and attendance rates were approximately 75 percent.
The Ministry of Education stated that in its effort to improve school enrollment and attendance, has expanded the school feeding programme in the first half of the year.
According to the report, $1.6 billion of the budgeted $3.6 billion was spent. The report highlighted that the community-based school feeding programme has benefited over 26,000 children from 214 schools across Regions 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9.
“An additional 935 students now benefit from expansion of the programme this year. Further, the breakfast component provides for approximately 13,539 students in 118 schools across Regions 3 and 4, and Georgetown. Under this component, 851 beneficiaries in 9 additional schools are expected to be added in Region 5 – Ithaca, Blairmont, Bath, Liberty Hall, Shieldstown, and Rosignol – and 435 beneficiaries in five schools in Region 6 – Leeds, Mount Sinai and New Amsterdam. This is expected to be implemented in the second half of the year.”
Based on information from the Ministry of Education, the government commenced its National School Feeding Programme in February 2010. The Ministry of Education receives support from the Ministry of Local Government and other stakeholders to ensure that this policy initiative of the government is successfully implemented.
The National School Feeding Programme targets all nursery schools and all primary schools in Grades 1 and 2. The School Feeding Programme was implemented in Regions 1, 2,3,4,5,6,10 and Georgetown. (Regions 7, 8 and 9 are targeted separately). The Programme consists of locally made biscuits and juices with the sole distributors being Banks DIH Limited and Demerara Distillers Limited.
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