Expanded school feeding programme yields positive impact on attendance – Report

Kaieteur News – 04 September 2019

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 enrollment 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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  • Yvonne  On September 4, 2019 at 10:06 am

    It’s important that the government keep that program going. Hungry bellies cannot learn and it’s also an incentive for parents to ensure that their children attend school.

  • Trevor  On September 5, 2019 at 8:33 am

    You telling me that plenty 8 to 10 storey high rises are popping up all over GT, and the treasury doesn’t have any money to feed the low-income students?

    Didn’t NYT and Exxon write articles how they discovered over 6 billion barrels of oil, which would be almost 360 billion US dollars in current Brent oil prices? This is 100 times our average GDP for the past 5 years.

    What about the endless articles from Bloomberg and elitist magazines suddenly reporting Guyana as once a failed state to the “richest country in the world”, we will become Arabians, we will become Singaporeans, we will become millionaires in US dollars, you name it. We will each own a Dubai skyscraper and spend $100,000 a night in hotel rooms and lounge parties, just like the Dubai elites.

    But you can’t find money to feed one biscuit to a hungry student who will have a future of poverty while the elite become Dubai millionaires.

    • Trevor  On September 5, 2019 at 8:45 am

      “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.”

      This should be at the first paragraph, as the first paragraph sounded like it was an issue rather than there was an improvement.

      But still, there should be more monies allocated!

    • Denise  On September 5, 2019 at 12:15 pm

      @Trevor….those high rise buildings you refer to are not government owned. Those are “business” investments ….a.k.a. money laundering.

      • Trevor  On September 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm

        Denise, but I would presume that taxes and fees will trickle down to government as the land will be valued way higher than decades ago?

        Right at Camp & Lamaha was a vacant lot that was there for years, and a few years ago a huge 5 to 6 storey tall high rise was being built there (huge to that time, now we have 10 story tall buildings, and Pegasus plans to build a 12 to 13 storey tall hotel).

        People were saying that the land there was sold very cheaply, and when tax time came, the owners used 1970s land values at the exchange rate at that time, to claim taxes.

        What might be happening is that people who are involved in money laundering are winning big time exporting drugs, becoming wealthy, and buying land cheap, building 6 to 10 storey building, and then the foreign companies like Exxon, Total, Coss Cutters and others will rent these buildings, making the money launderers wealthier.

        For the past decade, I’ve seen taller and taller buildings spring up, but half the building is empty. Freddie Kissoon once alluded that an owner of a 6 storey mall at Sheriff Street was using the building as a piggy bank to launder money.

        How it’s lawless that the money launderers who are building these white elephant towers are the ones who are making it big with the oil industry renting those buildings to mega-corporations.

        And like last time before, someone will report my comment to have it removed as the truth hurts for some Guyanese.

        Most of us, especially living in South, will never forget how the PPP sent armed jackboots to murder the Lamaha squatters so that the drug pushers and Asian criminals can build 7 story malls.

  • Trevor  On September 6, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    You know it kinda makes me upset that the “local content” winners for the oil industry are mostly Guyanese of dubious business dealings, while school children are eating biscuit and sugary drinks, but there isn’t money for nutritious meals.

    Exxon doesn’t care if they pay rent to a 7 to 10 storey building owner and that owner was involved in money laundering; nor will the other major companies care as they are here to drill for oil. Exxon is also accused by many citizens of the world as being a criminal, so birds of a feather flock together.

    Freddie Kissoon once lamented that the extremely wealthy owners of Survival Supermarket wanted to eye pass residential inhabitants of West Ruimveldt and construct a massive warehouse in a residential area, to store chemically hazardous and cancer-causing lubricants for Exxon-Mobil.

    Imagine how we will have to endure miles and miles of radioactive-like chemicals going into our lungs because of those rich land owners.

    And this supermarket wanted to chastise Freddie Kissoon for complaining how the supermarket is anti-poor and they are pricey, just like Coss Cutters.

    What will the future of school children be, if giving an extra cookie is somewhat a struggle, while the money launderers and “Asian business investors” send stooges of the government to seize lands and build taller and taller buildings which will be used as piggy banks instead of employment?

    If the PPP were in power, they would use the oil money to train Phantom Squads to massacre us as we live in “prime real estate”, and the oil companies and “expats” want to live like Kings.

    Maybe Freddie Kissoon is right…

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