The Ministry of Education is considering to increase its contribution to school feeding in Primary and secondary schools, but calls for parents to follow suit in order to bridge current gap in the program.
Last week, the Ministry of Education presented a report to the Committee on Unity, Human Rights and Fight against Genocide indicating that the amount contributed by the government is currently small and should be increased for students to have a balanced diet.
Currently, the Ministry of education contributes Rwf56 per child per day for lunch, while parents contribute Rwf 94.
The two players contribute a total of Rwf150 for each child to have lunch. However, teachers say it is small, compared to the current market price.
“The Ministry of Education asks schools to give children balanced diet including milk, eggs, vegetables, rice and other food stuff. If you want to fulfill these requirements, it is impossible; amount of money is very small,” Fred Kagina, Headteacher of Kambyeyi primary school located in Kamonyi district, Southern province said.
“The most affordable plate of food cannot go below Rwf500. The government should increase the amount of money, but parents should also be sensitized to also add on their contribution. This is everyone’s responsibility, but mostly parents,” he added.
For parents, the contribution is decided in Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs).
In 2019 the Ministry of education pledged to raise Rwf7 billion for school feeding. Besides these efforts, teachers say some students whose parents did contribute are denied lunch in some schools.
Clemence Nahayo, Headteacher of Kayanga primary and secondary school located in Gasabo district said that all students are provided with lunch whether they contribute or not, but a gap will likely affect them in the middle of the year.
“We try to avoid conditions where a student can feel inferior and dropout. However, we shall not manage this in the future, if nothing is done,” she added.
So far, the school feeding program is already working in 600 primary and secondary schools with officials encouraging schools to feed students with the most available food in their communities.
The Ministry of Education says it targets to feed 3.3million children in both primary and secondary schools.
During the report presentation from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Damien Nyabyenda, Member of parliament said that both the government and parent’s contribution is a drop in the ocean and should be revised for children to have good meals.
“Parents have not yet understood the school feeding advantages. It needs a strong campaign,” Nyabyenda said.
In December 2020, Edouard Ngirente, Prime Minister while briefing the parliamentarians said the government was planning to spend about Rwf38 billion on the programme annually.
“The government’s contribution is enough, currently. This is a report from the Ministry of Education and MINECOFIN, something should be done to increase the government’s contribution,” Veneranda Nyirahirwa, Chairperson of Committee on Unity, Human Rights and Fight against Genocide said.