[ACCI-CAVIE] The Ministry of Education has urged private schools to implement a school feeding policy to improve the welfare of students, which will also reflect on their academic performance.
“We want this programme to reach every child that attends school and every child has to be able to take their meal at school,” said Gaspard Twagirayezu, the state minister in charge of primary and secondary education.
He said that so far, the programme was only being implemented in public and government-aided schools.
“According to the policy, every child must have lunch at school. Our target is to cover all schools including private schools across the country,” he added
The week was held under the theme “Nutrition and Human capital development in Africa
Twagirayezu further said that even though at the beginning of this programme, private schools were not fully prepared for it, they are encouraged to start implementing the policy.
He made this call during the opening of the 7th edition of School Feeding Week, a continental activity that kicked off in Rwanda on February 28 at GS Ayabaraya in Kicukiro district.
The week was held under the theme: “Nutrition and Human capital development in Africa through increased investment in Home Grown School Feeding Programme.”
Officials during tree planting exercise near the school
Currently, the government provides Rwf56 per day as support for each student to get food at school, while the parent contributes Rwf94 towards every meal.
However, this support by government caters to only students in public and government-aided secondary schools and primary schools.
Twagirayezu said that the ministry is putting more effort into raising more awareness about the project to help parents understand it well.
Divine Uwineza, the director of school feeding at MINEDUC said that for private schools, there will be no government support like it is provided for public schools.
“We believe that the private schools’ parents are able to contribute fully in this initiative because the government still has a lot of things to fix in public schools instead of allocating the budget to private schools now where parents seem to have the financial capacity,” she said.
She said that the private schools should start implementing the policy without government aid, adding that some private schools have already done so, citing an example of “Kigali Christian School”.
“Private schools might learn from other private schools that have already introduced school feeding programs,” she said.
The school feeding program was extended from secondary schools to primary schools recently.
At least 6,000 students were accessing school feeding programs in high school.
This number has increased to over 3,500,000 this year covered with the school feeding program when it was extended to all levels.
Speaking to The New Times Clarisse Uwera, a student in GS Ayabaraya where this school feeding week was launched at the national level, said that this initiative is a game-changer in their lives.
“I’ve seen my colleagues get back to school and our performance improved as well thanks to this development that saves us time and gives us security while studying without suffering from hunger,” she said.
Uwera shares the same gratitude with various students as well as parents.
By Aurore Teta Ufitiwabo