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GOVERNMENT TO END SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAMME

GOVERNMENT TO END SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAMME

The national government now plans to do away with the school feeding programme.

In a decision that has caused uproar among members of the National Assembly, the Treasury has proposed to scrap off the allocation to the programme in the 2024/2025 financial year budget estimates.

The programme was allocated Ksh.4.9 billion in the current financial year, but the Ministry of Education appealed for Ksh.1 billion extra in the supplementary budget.

The Treasury has however deemed it fit to do away with the programme in totality, a decision MPs fear is going to affect 4.5 million learners.

“The biggest challenge we are facing is that the whole budget has been removed, those of us who take three meals a day might not know the feeling of what happens when a child does not have a meal in some certain parts of this country, that is why I wanted my colleagues from Treasury who think this programme is not important to be here,” lamented Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang.

Speaking when he appeared before the Education committee to defend the budget, PS Kipsang complained of huge cuts in next year’s budget estimates totalling Ksh.7 billion in the recurrent budget.

“We have to appreciate that the school feeding programme is so essential to the success of the students, that it is very important to making sure that every kid gets education. We are appealing to the National Assembly to please reinstate the school feeding programme,” he said.

“It’s so important that that single meal the students get at lunch time is retained. It’s so important that that cup of porridge that is given is retained because most students come without having any meal at home. There are more than 2 million students out of school and food is part of the reason why they are not in school.”

Members of the Julius Melly-led committee were at a loss why the government was scrapping off the project despite the Kenya Kwanza government having promised to make the programme even bigger to encourage learners going to school.

“What I would want to understand is what rationale was used to propose the scrapping of this programme? I thought it was a policy of this government to even add more money into this?” Posed Melly.

PS Kipsang also warned of dire consequences both in primary school, junior school and even secondary schools if more money is not released to the ministry.

According to the ministry, the biggest casualty is going to be the junior school that has seen increased enrolment to 3,289 learners requiring Ksh.46.1 billion to fully sponsor the students.

As of now, the Basic Education PS says there is a deficit of Ksh.15.4 billion.

“We appeal to this committee, the Constitution gives you the powers to appropriate, please try to find favour with our request and allocate enough money to fund education sector,” Kipsang said.

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