MID-DAY MEAL SCHEME
Context: The Karnataka State Government is looking at a possibility of extending the school meal programme to first and second year PU students.
About 55 lakh students from class 1 to 10 in government and government aided schools are currently covered in Karnataka
- Karnataka will be setting an example if it can do it because most states provide school meals only up to class 8, and Karnataka is already ahead by covering up to class 10.
- A large number of students from rural areas leave home early to come to the city to study PUC. Midday meals will help such students because they usually don’t have proper breakfast.
- That is a great opportunity to meet the nutritional needs of future mothers of our country as well.
- Adolescent girls will get right nutrition; otherwise, they risk giving birth to malnourished children later.
- The mid daymeal is a centrally-sponsored programme and funds only up to class 8. Since Karnataka has included class 9 and 10, too, the State bears the additional costs. In Karnataka, the programme covered 42 lakh children (up to class 8) in 2018-19.
- Government is also mulling to extend its ambitious midday meal scheme to private unaided Kannada medium schools
- Currently, midday meals are served at government and private aided schools across the state, the majority in association with non-governmental organisations
AKSHAYA PATRA FOUNDATION
- TheAkshaya Patra Foundation is a Bengaluru based non-profit organisation in India that runs school lunch programme across India.
- The organisation was established in 2000.
- Classroom hunger affects children’s ability to learn and grow. To solve this challenge, Akshaya Patra began the Food for Education initiative which is continuously making an effort to enable children from over 13,000 schools in India
- The food distributed by Akshaya Patra is perceived to be “hygienic, nutritious and delicious”.
- Akshaya Patra reaches out to 18, 02,517 children in 51 kitchens across 12 States & 2 Union Territories of India, providing them with freshly cooked meal on all school days.
- In Karnataka Akshaya Patra have its kitchens at Bengaluru-HK hill and Vasanthapaura, Ballari, Hubbali, Mangalore, Mysuru and Jigani.
- Akshaya Patra Foundation recently opened a massive kitchen in Mandya to feed a whopping 20,000 children at state-run schools in Mandya and Mysuru districts under the mid-day meals scheme.
MID DAY MEAL
- TheMid-day Meal Scheme is a school meal programme of the Government of India designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children nationwide
- On August 15, 1995, National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and in the year 2001, the Supreme Court of India ordered all the state governments and union territories to implement Mid-Day Meal Scheme and provide cooked meals to school children from Government and Government-aided schools.
- The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government aided local body, Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternate innovative education Centres, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and National Child Labour Project schools run by the ministry of labour.
- Serving 120,000,000 children in over 1,265,000 schools and Education Guarantee Scheme centres, it is the largest of its kind in the world.
- The Midday Meal Scheme is covered by theNational Food Security Act, 2013.
THE OBJECTIVES OF MID-DAY MEAL
- Improving the nutritional status of children in classes’ I-V in Government, Local Body and Government aided schools, and Education Guarantee Scheme(EGS) and Alternative and Innovative Education (AIE) centres.
- Encouraging children, belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend school more regularly and help them concentrate on classroom activities
- Providing nutritional support to children of primary stage in drought affected areas during summer vacation
While focusing on improving nutritional level and attendance, the mid day meal scheme also aims to address two Sustainable Development Goals: Zero Hunger and Quality Education.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SCHEME
- It was a perfect way to get children from lower strata of society, educated and nourished, and reducing the burden on poor families of feeding their kids meals at home.
- The MDM Scheme has not only attracted children from disadvantaged sections (especially girls, Dalits and Adivasis) to school but also has improved regularity, nutritional benefits, and socialization benefits among them while also providing benefits to women .
- Studies by economists show that some of these benefits have indeed been realized. The positive effect on enrollment of disadvantaged children, on attendance, on learning effort, on improving nutritional inputs, and on improving nutritional outcomes.
- The scheme however, has been plagued with several controversies in recent years.
- In Assam, 41 students fell ill after consuming a mid-day meal at a high school in Tinsukia district.
- Around 60 students of a primary school in Karnataka’s Chitradurga were hospitalized after allegedly consuming mid-day meal at school.
- Public schools in Uttar Pradesh were found to be feeding their children with rice and turmeric under the mid-day meal scheme.
- Another Uttar Pradesh school was found to be feeding its children a roti and salt, as a part of the scheme.
- Caste based discrimination also continues to occur in the serving of food
- Despite the scheme being very successful, there are a lot of issues that need urgent attention.
- We need to make sure the quality of food that is being provided is not sub standard.
- We need to stress on supplements such as iodine, iron etc
- Government also needs to make sure that caste based discrimination is not there in the implementation of the scheme.
SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN (सर्व शिक्षा अभियान)
- Sarva Shikshā Abhiyān,(Education for All Movement), or SSA, is an Indian Government programme aimed at the universalisation of elementary education “in a time bound manner”
- The 86th Amendment to theConstitution of India making free and compulsory education to children between the ages of 6 to 14 a fundamental right (Article- 21A).
- It aims to educate all children between the ages 6 to 14 by 2010. However, the time limit has been pushed forward indefinitely.
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has provided support to alternate schooling facilities under its Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and Alternative Innovative Education (AIE) component.
QUESTION: What are the advantages of the mid day meal scheme? (1o marks)
Assess the significance of the mid day deal scheme in the Indian education system (15 marks)