It was after joining the employment field that I got time to reflect on the famous ‘porridge fees’ as was commonly termed in primary school. My worst days in lower primary were always when the head teacher surfaced to address the students; I knew many students were going to be sent home for porridge fees away and, true, many were sent and among those sent home, some managed to come back while others did not and thus dropping out of school. This remained a distrustful challenge to many school going children mainly in government Aided schools back in the days.
Let alone the pain of being sent home but there was equally another pain of seeing your friends taking porridge at break time with some other escorts and with a close supervision from the teacher in charge, meant that there was no way one would get a taste of break time porridge and lunch before paying the required money.
However, the end was not as appeasing as the school had expected to be with the number of students continuing to go down because of failure to pay the fees for break-fast and lunch at school. The parent’s continual resistance to pay fees for their children’s consumption at school made schools to stop feeding them and that left a lasting mark in student’s poor show in the academic ring as well as the school’s general performance.
Many modern employers and CEOs have made it a necessity for employees to get a bite at work for breakfast and may be lunch to those who think it cannot jeopardise their working environment. Many have penned deals with other service providers to offer their staff food so as to ensure total commitment to work and bring about the desired organisational or institutional goals and objectives. With this at its highest apogee in all institutions, it gets me into a jungle of questions on why parents were reluctant to pay the porridge money bearing in mind the significance of a healthy body towards effective teaching and learning.
Many times, the blame for the anomalous students’ performance goes to teachers and other education policy makers; well, it could be right or wrong, but it is mostly taken out of context. Parents must take a leading role in their children’s education success and breathtaking career undertakings, they must be properly oriented about the relationship between a good feeding of their children, their academic deeds and thereafter.
There have been several discussions about setting the pace for quality human resource, the idea in mention is captivatingly good but the devoid of a clear system to avail effective school feeding policy to the schools divest us the chance to provide our children with the best start in life and thus keeping us in balance for the quality human resources. Young children should be given a no excuse green light to set off and a lot is unquestionably needed to ensure that young children get the start in life they deserve and to build on the progress a nation.
Countless child psychologists have argued that growth and development of a child depends among other things, the on nutrition of mother before and after birth. Therefore, once there has been adequate provision of ample nutrition to the school going children promotes good health Recognized as constituting a profound significance to the proper growth of children.
Researchers have also avowed that the children’s best ever physical growth with mental and socio emotional characteristics take place during this age and children are found to be most vulnerable to environmental influence and this increasing their chances of succeeding in their academic entanglement
Why the systematic feeding programme
The school feeding programme as a social safety net has been on the tables of education policy makers, as one of the strongest instruments for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Geared by the desire to improve children’s education and proper physical and mental health, a proper systematic feeding programme in school can be a landmark towards increasing children’s educational achievement which, in the end, influences their likely future productivity and earnings.
This will bring about the ambiance of academic freedom and increases school attendance by lowering the students’ occasional costs of attending school and providing extra inducements for many students at a young age to fully engage in formal education. It is also clear that the more time one spends in school, the more time they spend learning. The better the children are feeding, the lower the hunger and the better the cognitive functioning and retention rate.
The writer is a PhD student of Comparative Education at Beijing Normal University