Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 16 July 2016 | 2,282 times
The Abia State Government has explained that the pilot phase of its free school meal for primary school pupils in the state is now being carried out in six selected schools, two each from the three senatorial zones.
The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji, who disclosed this in an interview, said the pilot project was a test to ascertain if the programme would be replicated in all primary schools across the state.
Mgbeoji emphasised that it would be wrong for people to create the impression that it was a full-scale project now, stressing that its full implementation would be determined by the “logistics” surrounding the implementation of the pilot phase.
“The programme is a pilot project. It is not as if you go to every school now, the children are being fed. We want to know how it works. We began it on a small scale with two schools in Abia North, two schools in Abia Central and two schools in Abia South Senatorial Zones.
“We started off with schools that are best in infrastructure because you cannot be feeding people who are sitting on the floor,’’ the Commissioner said.
He said that it was wrong for people to create the impression that the pilot phase of the school feeding programme was meant to have complete coverage of all schools in Abia state.
The Commissioner did not, however, say when the pilot phase would give way for full-scale implementation of the programme.
He said that the Ministry of Women Affairs and Children’s Development in the state was in charge of coordinating the people who donate, cook and share the food at the schools.
The government had, in its mission statement, noted that the programme would help meet the basic nutritional needs of children, expand their opportunity to reach full potential and significantly enhance their academic performance.
The programme which started in June 2016, is expected to feed a total of 136, 258 pupils, who will consume 408, 774 fresh eggs, as well as Ofada rice and beans weekly.
•Photo shows Abia Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji.
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