How mid-day meal plays an important role in Government Schools

The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is one of the most important interventions by Government of India to promote education. On 28 November 2001, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate stating, “We direct the State Governments/Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary School with a prepared mid-day meal.” Hence, under this scheme, children of government school receive free and nutritious meals on school days. It has been observed that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has had a significant impact on the nutritional and educational status of children. During 2016-17, 9.78-crore children from 11.40-lakh schools had benefited from this scheme.

mid-day meal benefits

The government encourages the participation of NGOs by providing ample support with the intention to multiply the mid-day meal benefits i.e.:

  • avoid classroom hunger
  • increase school enrolment
  • increase school attendance
  • improve socialisation among castes
  • address malnutrition
  • empower women through employment

Since NGOs work at the grass root level and the role of NGOs is very crucial in furthering the benefits of mid-day meal, the government has set certain criterions as per NP-NSPE guidelines to select a partner NGO. Only upon fulfilment of the criterions the NGO will be considered for government partnership and also receive aid from the government in the form of grants and subsidies. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of the main mid-day meal NGOs in India that fulfil and adheres to the NP-NSPE guidelines. The NGO had begun implementing the mid-day meal programme in June 2000. And, after the Supreme Court’s mandate, it partnered with the government to continue the programme. This partnership was a welcome progression for the Foundation in providing nutritious meals and supporting the education of children.

Undeniably, school plays an important role in the socio-economic development of society. It is a place where children from various backgrounds mingle together promoting the culture of unity and brotherhood. The education they receive at school prepare them to achieve their goals and become successful in their lives. But, children of government schools mostly come from economically challenged backgrounds. So, even though education schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan are being implemented, the difficult financial conditions force these children to choose work over school. And, this is where the real potential of mid-day meal surfaces. Mid-day meal acts as an attractive incentive for parents to send their children to school with the sole hope that the young ones will receive at least one plate full of meal for the day. Thus, by giving the assurance of food, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme brings children to school, regularises attendance, checks drop-out rate, and helps children to receive the education they rightfully deserve.

Akshaya Patra is aware of the tangible and sustainable impact of mid-day meal. Hence, taking the onus, it conducts regular impact studies of its school lunch programme, the results of which are heartening. The several impact studies suggest that there has been a marked improvement in factors related to enrolment, attendance, health, and socialisation. To multiply this impact and bring more children under the purview of its school lunch programme, Akshaya Patra seeks supporting hands. And to make it easy for donors, it offers a quick and secure online platform. Through this platform, one can donate for the mid-day meal programme instantly from anywhere and at any time, with the provision of receiving tax exemption benefits too. It will be worth a step if you donate to charity. It will provide food and education to many deserving children while making you an important link in the chain of social development and national progress.

Advertisements

Akshaya Patra’s role in children’s development

The vision statement of Akshaya Patra states: ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.’ In June 2000, the Akshaya Patra Foundation was founded with the objective of ensuring that no child missed schooling for want of food.

Akshayapatra Role

Over the last 17 years, The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been playing a pivotal role in the emotional, social and physical development of young school-going children. In fact, these have a direct effect on their overall development while growing up into an adult. That is why it’s important to understand the need to invest in young children.

Young children are like sponges when learning. Hence, these formative years are very important. A major role is played in ensuring children get the best by many a charity for children that facilitate learning.

While the Foundation ensures adequate nutritious food, it also does some other work too that ensure the holistic development of children:

  1. It holds after-class tuitions for children to ensure even those children who may not have anyone to guide them at home too are on a par with other children.
  2. It also holds community health camps. This ensures that children, their families and the whole community get access to the best in healthcare.
  3. It conducts health check-up camps which helps provide treatments on time to the needy, especially children.
  4. The Foundation organises life-skills programmes that makes the deprived children fit enough to have a fair shot at success and can compete in this highly-competitive world, and
  5. The Foundation also has scholarship programmes for children from families that are economically challenged which allows them to afford the best of books and study materials.

Molding children

Referring to a few studies, former US President Obama had said in an address in 2013 that early childhood education had a great impact on life’s outcomes. This is a universal truth and hence even the deprived children should get adequate quality education. One can donate for education in India to ensure these children are able to go to school and are able to study like normal children.

The approach to building a strong foundation for a child’s emotional, social, physical and mental development, which will prepare them for a lifetime can be used during the schooling. Socializing with people other than one’s family in a safe environment is an essential foundational element and a school provides the right environment. This is facilitated by the mid-day meals provided by Akshaya Patra which makes children stay on in school and gain most out of the opportunity.

One can sponsor a child and ensure they are able to play a part in the whole process of a child’s development. One can do their mite by donating to education of children from deprived sections of the society. One can contribute to ensure that at a least child can get good education without having to worry about hunger while concentrating on the studies.