Teso South MP Puts CS to Task on Contradicting School Lunches

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Hon. Mary Emaase, MP Teso South,has brought to light alarming contradictions in the guidelines for implementing Junior Secondary School (JSS) education.

The discrepancy revolves around Guideline 8.6, which places the responsibility of providing meals to parents and guardians, while simultaneously obligating school leadership to ensure that no child drops out due to unpaid lunch fees.

The legislator recently voiced her concerns, calling on the Ministry of Education to address this contradiction and shed light on the actions being taken to rectify the situation.

Hon. Mary Emaase further highlighted the predicament faced by children from needy backgrounds, whose parents or guardians cannot afford the lunch fee in most schools.

“What are the measures in place to ensure that needy children whose parents/guardians cannot afford the lunch fee programme remain in school and enjoy nutritious meals and to ensure that no child drops out of school as a result of failure to pay lunch fees which in most schools is KSHS 15,000?” she asked.

In response to the concerns raised, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Hon. Ezekiel Machogu, clarified the intentions behind Guideline 8.6. According to the documents tabled by the Ministry of Education, the responsibility for providing meals lies with parents and guardians, and the Government’s obligation under the Free Junior Secondary School education program is limited to covering tuition fees.

The Cabinet Secretary further explained that Guideline 8.6(i) does not imply that the leadership of JSS should provide lunch to learners. Rather, it emphasizes that no student should be turned away from school due to non-payment of lunch fees.

“The Ministry expects any measures addressing delayed or inability to pay for lunch to be undertaken while learners continue with their studies” he added.

The Cabinet Secretary also highlighted that payments for lunch programs are voluntary, and parents have the option of having their children carry food from home.

To address concerns about children from disadvantaged backgrounds, the CS encouraged Parents Associations to develop cost-effective frameworks for lunch programs in their respective schools.

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