The School Feeding Program at the Primary School Rumbia in Caicoli, Dili, stopped six months ago because they were not give salt, beans and cooking oil.“Our school since the start of January until the 30 May only received rice,” said the Director of the school, Abilio Pereira da Conceicao (12/06).Director da Conceicao added the school received 202 sacs of rice but he is unsure of its quality, because so far they have not cooked it. He also said the beans provided by the Ministry of Education as part of the school feeding program are of very poor quality and the children refuse to eat them.
“Many children do not eat the beans because they make their bellies swell. And then who will take the responsibility and explain to parents if the children get sick after eating the beans?”He already informed the ME repeatedly, but so far nothing has been done about this matter.Meanwhile the Child Protection Program Assistant, Forum Tau Matan (FTM), Honorio Soares Almeida, said since it was first implemented, the School Feeding Program has always lacked quality.“For example, in 2010 we were able to reduce the problem of malnutrition down to 30 per cent and in 2011 and 2012, the problem escalated again. This means the school feeding program does not meet the needs of children,” said Assistant Almeida.He urged the ME to improve the program through better investment in promoting foods that are adequate for children.The National Coordinator for the Education Coalition Timor-Leste (TLCE), David Bendito da Silva, said the menu for the School Feeding Program lacks quality, which is a big mistake by the government.“We expect to provide nutrition to children and we get the beans from the shops. What nutrition do they have? They have been stored in warehouses for years, the nutrition is gone,” said the Coordinator. According to TLCE’s observations of the implementation of the school feeding programs in schools across the country, they identified that even though the food is for students, teachers take first pick.“The food is allocated every year by the Ministry of Education for a whole year and only lasts six months because the teachers eat most of it, sometime they sell it. We have seen this in many places,” said the Coordinator of TLCE da Conceiçao.In relation to this matter, the National Director for School Social Action, ME, Carlito Mota, informed this year the Ministry replaced the distribution of salt, beans and cooking oil to schools. “We will continue to provide rice until November and while we will not be distributing beans and cooking oil and salt we will give money instead,” said Director Mota.He added this process of allocation of funds is still ongoing because proposals are still being submitted to the government based on the total number of students in each of the schools.“In 2011 and in previous years the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry (MTCI) as the implementing partner provided rice to ME and the Ministry distributed it to the students. The beans are provided by the World Food Progam WFP and the ME buys the salt and the cooking oil,” said Director Mota.
Enter your email address: