This study looked at school nutrition and academic achievement of primary school students in Rivers State’s Obio Akpor Local Government Area. The study looked into the impact of school feeding programs on student attendance and academic performance, as well as the impact of school feeding programs on pupil enrolment and academic performance in primary schools. It also looked into the challenges that Nigeria’s school feeding program faces and offered solutions. The survey descriptive research design was used in this study. The survey yielded a total of 120 valid replies. Maslow’s motivation theory (1954) and Victor H. Vroom’s expectation theory were used in the research (1964). The findings revealed that the school feeding program has an influence on from the responses received and analyzed. Furthermore, the Nigerian school feeding program faces issues that must be addressed. According to the study, the government should form a committee to evaluate flood-prone areas and determine which areas should be covered by the SFP, with the goal of extending the coverage of places covered by the SFP, particularly in flood-prone areas, in order to enhance enrolment rates. Furthermore, the government should send more monies to the SFP kitty through the Ministry of Finance to maintain a consistent supply of school meals, allowing students to attend school frequently.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Simply put, school feeding is the distribution of meals to children through schools. According to Save the Children (2007), different countries use one or both of the feeding modalities to achieve distinct goals. In-school meals and take-home rations, in which families are given food if their children attend school, are the two broad types. In-school meals have traditionally been the most popular type of school food intervention. School feeding can be divided into two types: programs that provide meals and programs that provide high-energy biscuits or snacks in order to increase school enrollment, retention rates, and close gender and social inequities. (Afridi, 2007)
According to Afridi (2007), there are “indications of a considerable shift in thinking regarding school feeding, with many components of this new thinking being vigorously promoted under the label of “home grown school food.”
Every year, the World Food Program gives food to millions of schoolchildren around the world as an incentive to get them to go to school and stay there. The program focuses on communities with the lowest enrolment rates and the greatest potential for improving children’s educational skills (WFP, 1996). WFP began a global effort in 2001 to increase access to education for millions of children around the world. By that time, there were 66 million hungry schoolchildren in the world (World Food Program, 2009).
School lunches, according to Ahmed (2004), enhanced student attendance. In comparison to their peers where no feeding programs were provided, Ahmed discovered that school feeding raised enrolment, lowered dropout rate, increased attendance, and enhanced performance in participating 2 schools.
School feeding programs are important initiatives that have been implemented in many developed and developing nations around the world to combat poverty, increase school enrollment, and improve student performance. Almost 60 million children in developing nations go to school hungry every day, with about 40% of them from Africa. Thus, providing school meals is critical for nourishing students. Parents are encouraged to send their children to school rather than keep them at home to work or look after siblings. . The introduction of school feeding can be traced back to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiative and subsequent African leaders’ conferences aimed at addressing issues such as peace, security, good economic, political, and corporate governance, and making the continent an appealing destination for foreign investment. The ‘New Partnership for African Development,’ according to the blueprint, is a vow by African leaders to eradicate poverty and establish their countries on a path of sustainable growth and development while also participating effectively in the global economy and politics. The ‘Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program’ and the ‘Millennium Hunger Task Force’ are also among the organizations.
Nigeria was one of the twelve (12) pilot countries chosen to carry out the initiative. Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, and Mali are the first countries to execute the school feeding program. As a result, in 2004, the federal government passed the Universal Basic Education Act, which provided the necessary statutory backing for the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Program to be implemented. In 2005, the Federal Ministry of Education developed the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Program in order to achieve the goals of the Universal Basic Education program and to emphasize the importance of nutrition. The overall purpose of Nigeria’s School Feeding Program is to minimize hunger and malnutrition among schoolchildren and improve Universal Primary School enrollment.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
According to statistics issued recently by the Federal Ministry of Education, school enrolment in Nigeria’s primary schools fell from 10.5 million to 8.6 million in 2017. Given the country’s growing poverty and opposition to education in some sections of the north, this was a major improvement. The launch of a school food program by the government in collaboration with several state governments corresponds with an increase in primary school enrolment.
According to (Orodho, 2009), many parents who had previously refused to send their children to school are apparently changing their minds and deciding to send them to school as a result of the Federal Government’s supply of a daily meal in select schools across the country.
It was also discovered that some parents are transferring their children from private to public schools in order to take advantage of the free school feeding program.
Normally, an increase in out-of-school enrolment, or rather a drop in out-of-school enrolment, would be welcomed news, as it indicates an improvement in life expectancy and the country’s desire to combat poverty via education. However, the very scheme that appears to have boosted school enrollment in some parts of the country is gradually losing traction and may end up failing like any other government program due to widespread corruption and a lack of commitment on the part of states and even the federal government to ensure its success.
Due to funding constraints, many of the states that are currently implementing the program have reported poor results in terms of program implementation and the quality of the food supplied to the children by the vendors. Frequently, the food was of low quality, insufficient, and insufficient quantity to feed all of the students.
In some cases, the vendors hired by the government to supply food to the participating schools were shortchanged by officials from the state education ministry in charge of disbursement, while those sent to supervise the process were not committed to carrying out their duties. This piqued the researcher’s interest, prompting him to investigate the impact of school food.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study’s major goals are to determine the impact of school food programs on student enrollment, academic achievement, and class attendance of primary school kids. More specifically, the study aims to:
1. Determine the impact of the school feeding program on student attendance and academic achievement.
2. Examine the impact of a school food program on primary school enrollment and academic achievement.
3. Examine the challenges of Nigeria school feeding program and proffer solution
What effect does the school feeding program have on student attendance and academic performance?
2. Does the school feeding program have an impact on primary school enrollment and academic performance?
3. What are the difficulties and solutions to Nigeria’s school feeding program?
The following hypotheses were examined for validity:
Ho: In primary schools, school food programs have no effect on enrolment or academic achievement.
Hello, does the school feeding program have an impact on student enrollment and academic performance in primary schools?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings will benefit the government and education stakeholders by demonstrating how the school feeding program helped to ensure that students attended school regularly and actively participated in school activities. It will show how important school feeding programs are in achieving universal primary education and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and educational vision. The study will also encourage teachers to maximize their teaching efforts because students are eager to learn. For scholars interested in the field, the study could serve as a springboard for additional research.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The focus of this study will be on school feeding and primary school students’ academic achievement. It will be focused on determining the impact of school feeding programs on student attendance and academic performance, analyzing the impact of school feeding programs on primary school enrolment and academic performance, and examining the challenges of Nigeria’s school feeding program and proposing solutions. This study will be done in the obio akpor local government area of Rivers State, with primary school teachers and some students as participants.
DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
During my studies, finding funding for general research work was a struggle. Respondents also refused to fill out or submit the questionnaires that were presented to them.
However, these limitations were overcome by making the most of available resources and devoting more time to study than was required. As a result, it is strongly considered that, despite these constraints, their impact on this research report was small, allowing the study’s purpose and importance to be met.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
The World Bank defines the School Feeding Program as a targeted social safety net that provides both educational and health advantages to the most vulnerable children, thereby raising enrollment rates, lowering absenteeism, and enhancing household food security. School feeding programs boost nutritional outcomes in addition to improving access to food.