Provide food for learners, county officials appeals to schools

Tuesday February 23 2016

ECDE pupils. The Mandera County government has appealed to primary schools to offer food to children as a way of keeping them in school.  PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

ECDE pupils. The Mandera County government has appealed to primary schools to offer food to children as a way of keeping them in school. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MANASE OTSIALO
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Primary schools in Mandera County have been asked to rollout a feeding programme so as to attract and keep more learners in Early Childhood Development.

Speaking at his office, Mandera Early Childhood Development Education director Abdi Baji said the county was yet to roll out such a for ECDE learners but plans are underway.

He said to attract and retain the 35,000 young learners in schools, food is required but the long and complicated public procurement process will delay the county’s plans.

“We are also concerned and worried of dropouts due to lack of food in the centres as most children come from poverty stricken families that need support,” said Mr Baji.

He was responding to concerns raised by Mandera North sub-county education director Said Baricha who challenged the county to fully cater for ECDE needs as it is a devolved function.

Mr Baricha argued that his area is the most affected as most children risked dropping out of nursery schools due to lack of food.

He said World Food Programme (WFP) has only supplied food for primary learners which is not enough to share with the nursery centres.

“Most children come to school expecting a meal at the end of the lessons but what we are experiencing is discouraging the young learners,” said Mr Baricha.

Mandera county government has contracted more than 400 ECDE teachers who also teach the primary section filling the gap left after most teachers vacated the county due to insecurity.