NTUNGAMO. Education minister Janet Museveni has advised parents against packing cold food for school going children.
Ms Museveni advised parents to buy food flasks so that pupils can eat food when it is hot.
“What I don’t agree with is packing lunch in banana leaves and children eat it cold as lunch. You can buy small flasks for packing lunch so that these children can have it hot,” she stressed.
She continued: “Waking up in the morning, cooking katogo [usually mixture of matooke and beef or beans or cassava and beans] and putting it in a flask, what is hard with that?”
She was speaking at the launch of Phase II of the Literacy Achievement and Retention Activities (LARA) at Muriisa Primary School in Ntungamo District on Tuesday.
However, last week’s curricular by the ministry of Education to all chief administration officers, district education officers and Resident District Commissioners across the country, says provision of lunch to all learners in public schools has 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.
Ms Museveni added that she knows there are families that can’t afford paying fees but at least they have what to eat at home and can pack food for their school-going children.
Responding to the Ntungamo District education officer, Mr Oddo Arigye’s comments that most parents can’t afford packing lunch for their children, Ms Museveni said: “A parent, really? Someone who has given birth or is still giving birth and says he cannot pack lunch for children is useless.”
She further criticised parents for abandoning their responsibilities and putting every burden on the government and ever suggesting that the children are for the government and [President] Museveni.
She, however, said they instead like marrying them off young to get cows and goats.
Ms Museveni further cautioned teachers against corporal punishments, saying some maim children.
US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac urged communities to keep the girl-child in school.
She said many were dropping out before completing secondary level.