Mbarara- President Museveni has urged parents and school foundation bodies to cater for feeding of pupils, saying government can only afford establishing infrastructure and paying teachers.
“Government cannot afford feeding children [in schools], it requires a lot of money. You can cultivate food for them as Parish or parents can provide for them. For us (government), we can establish buildings and pay teachers,” Mr Museveni said.
He was on Monday speaking at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rubindi Parish, Mbarara District during golden jubilee celebrations and official opening of the new church.
The 1,000 seater church was constructed at a cost of Shs650 million and President Museveni contributed Shs50 million.
In an October 31, 2016 memo signed by then permanent secretary, Dr Rose Nassali Lukwago, the Education ministry expressed concern over poor performance and increasing number of pupils dropping out of schools due to lack of lunch at schools, among other factors.
The memo to all chief administrative officers, district education officers and Resident District Commissioners across the country, said provision of lunch to all learners in public schools had been made compulsory as a requirement for better learning environment.
The guidelines require all head teachers to agree with their respective school management committees on an affordable way of ensuring that all learners are fed while at school.
However, the policy is not being implemented in most of the schools countrywide.
Parents have three options of providing meals for their children at school under the policy, paying money to the school administration to buy food for pupils, packing food for their children or directly providing food items such as maize and beans to the school administration.
The parish has 150,000 Catholics, and has model farming projects including 15 acres banana plantation, dairy farm with 53 Frisian cows and produce 300 litres of milk every day, goats, piggery and orchard.
Part of the produce is sold to generate income for sustaining parish administrators and the rest feeds pupils of St Joseph’s Model Primary School which has 570 pupils. Mr Museveni said the farming projects are going to be used as centre for Operation Wealth Creation to teach the community best farming practices.
Using the example of the opened church, Mr Museveni asked government officials to stop the habit of spending huge sums of money on projects when they can be accomplished with reasonable financial resources.
The President donated Shs30 million for construction of Blessed Virgin Mary’s Chapel (home) estimated to cost Shs87 million, a lorry to assist in carrying farm produce, solar powered irrigation pump, three-phase power for milk processing, police post and chain link for ensuring security of the parish projects.