The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education, Dr. David Sengeh, on Thursday 16th January 2020 said the school feeding program, which is due to start in March this year will benefit 300,000 pupils across the country. He made this disclosure at the usual government press briefing at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information and Communication on Youyi Building in Freetown. Dr. Sengeh stressed the need for the school feeding program. He said children will not be able to concentrate and learn effectively if they are hungry. “Children will not perform well in their academics, if they do not have the proper nutrients,” he opined. He said, as part of his six months plan, he will engage in system strengthening, data collection, and innovation. He added that his Ministry remained the most neglected in the past administration. “There was no head of curriculum in the Ministry,” he said. Minister Sengeh explained that plans are underway to switch to a one shift system and he has set up a committee to do an assessment of the school system by engaging authorities, stakeholders and teachers in order for the Ministry to make an informed decision. He called on all and sundry to begin to take responsibility for our children’s education and help in our own little ways. “Those who have degrees should begin to volunteer at schools, and support in the drive towards a free quality education.” According to a press release from the Ministry, 27,000 bags of rice have been transferred to the World Food Program (WFP) on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone to support school feeding program across the country. The release further stated that an additional 30,000 bags of rice will be transferred to (WFP) in February.
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The release further stated that the government will continue to partner with (WFP) and other donor organizations to implement school feeding programs for over 300,000 school children by the end of 2020 in 151 out of 207 chiefdoms. In addition, the release revealed that there is now a memorandum of understanding which was signed in September 2019. The memorandum disclosed that the Ministry will continue to collaborate in the following ways:
- Expand the school feeding program to seven districts that are currently not covered by the existing program.
- Government to financially support WFP to procure food and non-food commodities and ensure transportation and other support services to deliver school meals to over 300,000 school children.
- WFP, in line with its food assistance programs, to strengthen government’s capacity in Implementing School feeding operations.
- As part of WFP capacity strengthening of school feeding secretariat, WFP to supply equipment and provide technical support to make the school feeding program more effective.
By Sulaiman Karim Sesay
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