Parents in Lamu County have been urged to pool their resources together and contribute towards school feeding initiatives so as to improve class attendance.
The County Director of Education, William Micheni who spoke to KNA on Wednesday in Lamu Island during an education stakeholder’s forum held by the Aga Khan Foundation, stated that for sustainable school feeding programme, parents need to take the lead.
Micheni further noted that school feeding programme initiative in the region has often suffered because of lack of goodwill from parents in ensuring that their children’s welfare was fully taken care of.
Meanwhile, education stakeholders have noted with concern that absenteeism was rife in Lamu, especially in situations where children are not offered food by the school, with some resorting to fending for themselves.
It has also been noted that school feeding programme is key to bringing children to class for learning purposes due to high poverty levels within the county.
“Parents need to realize that proper learning is a collective effort of the teachers, parents and the pupils to ensure that a good learning environment is provided by pooling resources together even if its maize flour to cook porridge, which in most cases is enough,” the director stated.
The same sentiments were echoed by the local Aga Khan Foundation coordinator and also the immediate former county executive for education, Khamis Kaviha, who stated that a more collective approach is needed for a sustainable feeding programme for schools in the area.
“Parents need to realize that it is only them who can own the respective school feeding initiatives, where their children go to learn,” Kaviha stated, adding that over reliance on the county government to fully cater for the programme would be reckless.
He further warned that unless the parents own the school feeding initiative in their children’s schools, the programme could be taken up by politicians who run the risk of politicizing an essential component in the management of schools.
“We need to ensure that the school feeding programmes in schools within the vicinity does not become politicized the way bursaries are sometimes used to for political mileage,” Kaviha noted.
On behalf of the county government,its Education Chief Officer, Mohammed Sagara stated that the county they will continue to support the school feeding programme in Early Childhood Development institutions and would look for way to revise their budget to aid the school feeding programme.
Meanwhile, the County’s education sector development budget stands at Sh.128, 210,000 where at least Sh.60 million will be set aside for bursaries and scholarships for Lamu students.
By Amenya Ochieng