Parents' and teachers perceptions towards school health and nutrition programme in selected primary schools of Mwense district,Zambia

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Meleki, Kabaso Chola
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The University of Zambia
The Zambian government introduced School Health and Nutrition Programme in order to address the issues of hunger and disease which interfered with learners’ academic performance. Despite involving the parents and teachers to work with government, the issue of diseases and hunger has continued in Mwense District. In addition, the perceptions of parents and teachers over the matter were not understood. Therefore, this study was undertaken to determine parents and teachers perceptions towards School Health and Nutrition Programme in selected primary schools of Mwense District to bridge the knowledge gap. The objectives of the study were to: determine the perceptions of parents and teachers towards the School Health and Nutrition Programme, establish roles, attitudes and challenges towards the implementation of the School Health and Nutrition Programme The study used descriptive survey design adopting the qualitative and quantitative approaches. Information was obtained from respondents by means of questionnaires and interviews. Thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data while excel was used for quantitative data. Five primary schools were selected randomly out of the total number of 40 in the district. A total of 100 respondents were selected which included 55 teachers, 5 head teachers, and 40 parents. This study used both probability and non-probability sampling. Purposive sampling was used in the selection of Head teachers because they had valuable information that the researcher required. Simple random sampling was used when selecting parents and teachers for equal chances of being picked. The findings of the study showed that generally parents and teachers had negative perceptions towards School Health and Nutrition Programme. Factors that led to negative perceptions were: respondents did not know the meaning of the programme, teachers did not pay much attention to the programme and low literacy levels among parents. The programme was neglected and looked down upon as something that initiates children into Satanism. The study concluded that the negative perceptions of parents and teachers were barriers to the programme. The study recommended that teachers and parents to work together to ensure the programme is effective. Sensitization to be done to dispel assertions that the programme is associated with Satanism which hitherto is unfounded myth. Future recommendations are that knowledge should be made available to communities before the programme is introduced.
School health--Nutrition--Zambia , School health(nutrition)--Academic performance--Zambia