Education Ministry doubles school feeding budget
Stabroek News
March 8, 2002

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The Education Ministry has doubled the budgetary allocation for its school-feeding programme to $156.6 million this year from $75 million last year.

A ministry release said that this came about partly as a result of the current anti-truancy campaign during which it noted that some children could not attend school because they were hungry.

The release said that in order to utilise the existing resources more rationally and deal more comprehensively with the identified problem of hunger, government had taken a number of measures including a doubling of the budgetary allocation.

The ministry will fully cover primary and nursery schools in Regions One (Barima/Waini), Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) together with the riverain areas of the country's other administrative regions in the school-feeding programme. These areas are considered the poorest in the country.

Headteachers of nursery and primary schools in Regions Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam), Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands), Four (Demerara/Mahaica), Five (Mahaica/West Berbice), Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) and Ten (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice) will be required to identify specific students who are at risk and request the necessary supplies. The ministry estimates that meeting the needs of those at risk will account for 15% of the school population of those regions.

The release said that in the future, attempts will be made to localise the provision of school meals.

It also quoted Education Minister, Dr Henry Jeffrey, as expressing the hope that this approach, which focused on the most vulnerable will help to improve attendance in the nursery and primary schools.