The impact of school feeding programme on school enrollment,attendance and perfomance in selected basic schools in Mongu District of Western Zambia

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Munukayumbwa, Sitali Consatance
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Abstract The purpose of the study was to find out whether or not the School Feeding Programme had enhanced the school enrolment, attendance and performance in selected Basic Schools in Mongu district. The study used the Basic Need Theory by Maslow to attempt to explain the impact of school feeding on school enrolment, attendance and performance. The three objectives that guided the study were: to determine the levels of enrolment before and after the commencement of the programme, to investigate the effects of school feeding on school attendance and to identify factors responsible for the attendance of pupils. Quantitative and qualitative research methods were used. Data were collected using questionnaires, focus group discussions and semi structured interviews. Quantitative data were analysed manually. The analysis involved frequencies of particular responses which were presented using tables and graphs. Qualitative data were analysed manually too. From the information recorded, researcher identified major themes and sub-themes and analysed various expressions with a view to gaining deeper insight into the subject matter. The study sample was 155, comprising 10 head teachers, 40 teachers, 60 pupils, 40 parents and 5 officials; 3 from the education offices and 2 from World Food Programme sub-office. Simple random and purposive sampling procedures were used to select the respondents. The findings of the study showed an increase in school enrolment and attendance in most selected Basic Schools after the commencement of the programme and school feeding stood out as a major factor contributing to the increase. Other factors contributed to the increase in school enrolment and attendances were: Free education policy, external support, and parental encouragement, availability of water and sanitation facilities. Few schools that recorded a decrease in enrolment attributed the decrease to poverty, long distances to school, nomadic life, sicknesses, household chores, negative attitude towards education, poor learning environment and initiation ceremonies. Despite the school feeding intervention, little had been achieved in terms of performance in some of the schools because of other factors such as over enrolment, poverty, long distance, shortage of teachers, large number of female teachers, and lack of teaching and learning materials. The few schools whose performance improved attributed the improvement to school feeding programme, small class size, availability of teaching and learning materials, availability of water and sanitation facilities. Based on the findings, the study made the following recommendations: the government should expand and rehabilitate schools in order to cater for increased school enrolment, WFP to expand the school feeding programme to include other inputs by networking and partnering with organizations/institutions that give cash and/or other materials, the government should design social protection programme or put measures to sustain the SFP in case the donor may not sustain the programme when needed or is phased out, the government should help parents through provision of farm input or more grants for them to start small income generating activities ‘IGA’, and revamping production units in schools.
Educational sociology--Zambia , School feeding programmes--mongu-Zambia , School attendance--Mongu--Zambia