First lady blames school failures on hunger

The Minister for Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni has said that lack of food has affected the performance of school going children in Uganda.

“The children in the areas where they are well fed, there are in school, they are not falling sick all the time and therefore they are in school; they perform well in their exams and they are not stunted,” Janet said.

She was on Friday speaking to reporters at State House Nakasero on her National School feeding campaign that ran from April 24 to May 31.

The campaign was intended to educate and remind parents about their role of feeding their children.

During the campaign, Janet said, they found that some children go to school on empty stomachs on top of not carrying any food for lunch.

“We realized how dangerous that is and yet as a county we really cannot afford to risk endangering the lives of these children. So we wanted to interest the parents so that they may know what they are not doing,” she said.

In 2017, the Ministry of Education and Sports drafted the schools feeding and nutrition guidelines which required parents to pack food for their school going children or contribute a moderate monthly fee monthly /termly fee to the school to provide lunch as agreed by the Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA).

The guidelines also gave designated powers to the districts to pass by-laws providing suitable penalties to parents who default contributing to school feeding.

Janet says that although it is clearly stated in the laws of Uganda that parents have to among others feed their children and also that UPE plan clearly leaves the responsibility of feeding children to patents, they deserved a benefit of doubt as a number of them thought free education meant free meals as well from government.

The ministry has embarked on a mission to correct the wrong impression that government had to fulfil all the roles of education without any input from the parents.