1.1. BACKGROUND OF STUDY
School feeding programs constitute critical interventions that have been introduced in many developed and developing countries of the world to address the issue of poverty, stimulate school enrolment and enhance pupils’ performance. In developing countries, about 60million School children go to school without food daily and about 40 percent of them are from Africa. Availability of school meals is therefore important in nourishing children. Parents are encouraged to send their children to school and not keeping them at home to do some work or care for siblings (Akanbi, 2013).The invention of the school feeding is traced to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiative and several conferences held thereafter by African leaders with the purpose of tackling issues, such as peace, security, good economic, political and corporate governance and to ensure the continent becomes an attractive location for foreign investment. Some of these developments include the ‘New Partnership for African Development’ which according to the blueprint is a pledge by African leaders, based on common vision and a firm and shared conviction, to eradicate poverty and to place their countries on the path of sustainable growth and development and, at the same time, to participate actively in the world economy and politics. Nigeria happened to be one of twelve (12) pilot countries invited to implement the program. So far, Nigeria, Cote d’ivore, Ghana, Kenya and Mali commenced the implementation of the school feeding program. As a result, the Federal Government came up with the Universal Basic Education Act in 2012, which provided the enabling legislative backing for the execution of the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Program. Towards the realization of the objectives of the Universal Basic Education program and the central role of nutrition, the Federal Ministry of Education launched the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Program in 2012. The general goal of the School Feeding Program in Nigeria is to minimize hunger and malnutrition among primary school children and enhance the achievement of Universal Basic Education. Sokoto was among the twelve (12) States selected to begin a phased–pilot roll out implementation of the program. Although The Home Grown School Feeding and Health Program were launched, it did not receive attention until the change of government in the State in November, 2010. Subsequently, the new administration, under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola convened an education summit headed by Professor Wole Soyinka. The summit’s objective was to critically examine the problems hampering growth and progress of education in the State and to proffer workable solutions. At the end of the Summit, recommendations were made towards repositioning education in Sokoto State which among others included the School Feeding Program transformation. Thereafter, a comprehensive review of the old school feeding program was undertaken. School feeding program has been adopted in many countries throughout the world to fight short-term hunger by ensuring at least one daily nutritious meal to support access to education. The high level of food insecurity, significant incidence of malnutrition and economic meltdown all combine to make school feeding relevant [Education Cluster 2009]. In the poorest pockets of the world, these simple strategies can double primary school enrolment in one year, as is happening in Nigeria. For a child suffering from hunger, going to school is not important; having enough food to eat is. Among the poor, there is often not enough food at home, and most schools in the developing countries do not have a canteen or cafeteria. On empty stomach, children become easily distracted and have problems concentrating on the school lessons [World Food Program 2009]. The majority of the estimated 7.3 million children out of school in Nigeria are girls. In 2012, the Federal Government of Nigeria launched the School Feeding Program with the assistance of the United Nations’ Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD 2009). The objective is to provide one meal per school day to all primary school pupils in Nigeria with the objectives of improving the health of school children, increase their enrolment, retention and completion rate. Since then the enrolment rate had increased while the attendance of pupils in school is stable especially among girls who used to leave school for street trading and house-help jobs [S. B. Halls, 2009]. So far, no empirical research has been carried out on the quality of the school meals in terms of nutrient content per serving to these pupils, yet it is important to ascertain that the food can achieve at least 30% of daily nutrient requirement target of the program. Childhood is an important stage for both physical and mental development and it is believed that overweight children are more likely to be overweight adults and vice versa [C. Power, et al 2010]. A suitable diet should therefore ensure that all nutrient requirements are met in order to protect current and future health in addition to being palatable. Nutrient requirement during childhood is at their highest for many nutrients, due to extreme physical changes including increase in height, bone and muscle growth and also active participation in sports and exercises, which result in increased demand for energy and specific nutrients. In Nigeria, an estimated 40% of all schoolchildren go to school hungry. UNICEF in 2017, the Permanent Secretary for the Federal Ministry of Education announced that Nigeria is the country with the highest number of out-of-school children, being home to more than half of the estimated 20 million out-of-school children worldwide. The Guardian (2017) after an initial attempt to run a national school feeding program in 2012, a redesigned program was launched in 2016. The new national primary school feeding program is one of five Social Investment Programs (SIPs) which have been launched by the Buhari administration. The SIPs are a high profile set of programs housed under the Vice President’s office. They aim to address a range of poverty-related problems simultaneously, including youth unemployment, low agricultural productivity, child nutrition, primary school attendance, and gender inequality.
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Nutrition has been seen as crucial in the child’s physical, emotional and cognitive development. Food has been acknowledged as life and a power in activating people’s life as well as supporting various aspects of child development and that is depended upon correct amount and quality (Omago2014). This fact has not been fully embraced within primary schools in Sokoto state. Most of these schools receive children from disadvantaged households within. These children have no guarantee of daily meals due to their poor socio economic background. Balanced diet is necessary because it builds, protects and repairs the body. Human beings require sufficient food for sustainability and functionality. Hence the need for the study primary school feeding program in Sokoto south L.G.A., benefits, challenges and way forward.
1.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine primary school feeding program in Sokoto south L.G.A., benefits, challenges and way forward, other specific objectives of the study include;
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of primary school feeding programs on academic performance of pupils
H1: There is a significant impact of primary school feeding programs on academic performance of pupils
H0: There is no significant relationship between the quality of food and academic performance of primary school children
H1: There is a significant relationship between the quality of food and academic performance of primary school children
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is important as it sought to generate useful information that may be of great value to education policy makers, health officials, teachers and parents at all levels. It is expected to contribute towards enhancement of feeding programs for children. The research may also assist the federal government in improving the feeding programs in primary schools. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to primary school feeding program in Sokoto south L.G.A., benefits, challenges and way forward
1.8. LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9. OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Primary school: a school usually including the first three grades of elementary school but sometimes also including kindergarten.
Feeding: is the act of giving food to a person or an animal.
Program: is a plan or procedure for dealing with some matter all the activities that can be participated in at a community center, camp, resort, etc
Child: A young person below the age of physical development to age 2.
Public Primary Schools: These are schools founded and sponsored by the government in which Children receive primary education between the ages of six and fourteen coming after pre-school and before secondary
School feeding program: Interventions that deliver a meal or snack to children in the school setting with the intent of improving attendance, enrolment, nutritional status and learning outcomes.
OTHER SIMILAR EDUCATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS