Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has allocated more than one million kilogrammes of grain to Bulawayo schools since the beginning of the term as part of the national schools’ feeding programme.
The programme has been backed by the introduction of a special levy for the supply of relish.
In an interview, Bulawayo Acting Provincial Education director, Mrs Olicah Kaira said all primary schools in the province were now feeding children.
“All our primary schools in Bulawayo are feeding except for trust schools which are lagging behind for some reasons. We are still engaging them. Government has assisted us through allocation of grain. As I speak in the majority of schools, children are receiving a hot meal every day,” she said.
Mrs Kaira said all five districts in the province and every primary school in those districts will be getting allocations as per enrolment.
“We received grain through collaboration between the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Social Welfare where Bulawayo central district schools received 139,52 metric tonnes of maize. Imbizo district received 148,49 metric tonnes, Mzilikazi district got 323,52 metric tonnes, Khami district, 185,44 metric tonnes and Reigate 262,50 metric tonnes,” she said.
Mrs Kaira said a special levy had been introduced for the feeding programme. “After we have received grain we needed relish, relish in the form of sugar beans, cabbage, milk or beef where possible. Parents came together and we agreed to seek authority to charge a special levy which ranges between $1 to $10 depending on what the school requires,” said Mrs Kaira.
“We can produce the ingredients in the school set up, that’s why you can find out now that in the majority of our schools we are doing nutrition gardens.
“That’s not child labour because we have agriculture from ECD to A level. Agriculture is more like a learning workshop because it is not only agriculture because there is Science, there is English, and there is Mathematics they must know how much they bought their seeds, how much they planted among other things,” she said.
Mrs Kaira urged local farmers to partner with schools to sell their produce such tomatoes, cabbages, onions, sugar beans, milk.
She said the parents were preparing the meals for the learners.
“Parents have partnered with us very well because they are the ones who are cooking and they have been medically assessed by the Ministry of Health and Bulawayo City Council to make sure that they are medically fit to prepare the meals for the learners and to make sure that the cooking is done in a clean and acceptable environment,” said Mrs Kaira.
Acting Matabeleland North Provincial Education director, Mr Jabulani Mpofu, said feeding was going on in all schools.
He said social welfare makes deliveries every week.
“We have received maize and rice. And the best school with school feeding is Kariangwe Primary school in Binga. Their feeding scheme is fully fledged, they have all the utensils, staff, and children are all fed,” said Mr Mpofu.
“In some schools, they are starting, they have hiccups here and there but Kariangwe it’s now fully fledged”.