29 March 2011

No or less food is being served by schools

In the Picture Pupils being served lunch

. Schools across the country are choking under the weight of increased commodity prices.

A survey has been carried out and indicates that many schools, including Springs Alive Children’s Centre (SPACC) are choking under the weight of the increased commodity prices; with some rationing food, others on the brink of closing early this term while others no longer at all serve their children any food at school.

The high cost of living has made it very expensive for some schools administrators to effectively remain in operation.

In some schools, the number of meals and amount of food has been reduced, while in others, co-curricular activities have been scrapped to save money for food. Others have removed some items from the menu.

This has caused mal-nutrition and children being absent-minded many-times while in class

The Government and the Education Ministry are aware of the hike in commodity prices but haven’t yet done a thing toward this.

This is what was found out from some schools during the survey;

1) One school had budgeted to spend sh266m on food for the entire year but the actual expenditure will be above this. All allowances have been suspended due to hiked prices for essential commodities. The school used to give students meat once a week but this has been stopped.

2) In another school,their menu has not changed,they expected commodity prices to increase and budgeted accordingly. They are also getting a lot of supplies on credit and will pay later.
3) In yet another school,they have 3,000 students and 180 staff members to feed. The expenditure has increased yet they have not increased school fees. But are lucky to have a school farm where they get some food to supplement.
4) We used to spend sh2m on providing lunch to 520 A’ level students for a fortnight; but now our expenditure on food has shot up to sh3.2m. We have reduced on the meat and matooke we prepare for teachers from twice to once a week.

5) We have reduced on the food rations. The education ministry requires that every UPE child in P3-P7 pays sh10,000 for lunch and sh5,500 for pupils in nursery. If the situation continues like this, we might begin serving the kids porridge for lunch
6) We used to buy a kilo of maize flour at sh800 but the price has doubled. We spent sh1.3m on posho and beans for the first half of this term but we are going to pay sh2.6m in the second half.
7) We stocked our food supplies last July. We have rice, beans and maize flour in stock. So we are still relying on the old stock. We have not
started experiencing the pinch.
8) We are finding it a little bit hard to feed students. Judging from last year’s expenditure, we had estimated to spend sh34.5m on food this term but already sh28m has been spent yet we still have another month to go. We used to give them soya peas twice a week but we have failed, due to the high prices.
9) l have failed to get the type of beans my students like.The School has 884 students and they eat 140 kg of posho everyday. Next term, we shall stock beans and posho in large quantities
10) A sack of maize flour that used to cost sh100,000 is twice the amount. We have had to ration food for our pupils to avoid wastage. As a result of higher prices, there might be a slight increment in fees.