Laoye-Tomori said that the cost was reviewed, following the governor’s directive that the programme should be extended to cover Primary Four pupils, adding that it was previously meant for primary one to three pupils.
She particularly noted that the school feeding progamme had improved pupils’ enrolment in primary schools, adding that this was one of the most crucial targets of the programme.
She stressed that the programme had boosted pupil enrolment with 38,000, as statistics revealed in October 2013 that no fewer than 86, 865 children had enrolled as new pupils in the schools, as against the projected figure of 61,000 pupils at that period.
The deputy governor said that the increase in pupils’ enrolment justified the government’s plans to use the programme to bring back to classes those pupils who discontinued schooling partly because of the cost of feeding.
Laoye-Tomori emphasised that the free education programme of the state government had already taken care of some major areas of concern that might constitute financial burden to the parents.
The school feeding programme has also facilitated the economic empowerment of citizens in the state.
This is because the government has employed thousands of food vendors, while many farmers were given access to government’s lands to produce crops that are sold the government for the `O’ Meal programme.
Although, the school feeding programme is a government project, Laoye-Tomori acknowledged the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and the World Food Programme, among others.
She said that these organisations that entered into a partnership with the state government and rendered some assistance, particularly in the production of manuals.
She said that some banks had also assisted the state government, citing a bank which donated N10 million towards the programme.
It is, nonetheless, pertinent to note that on Jan. 22, the governor, following the invitation of the Partnership for Child’s Development and the Imperial College, London, addressed the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Aregbesola addressed the lawmakers on the achievements which his administration had so far recorded in the school feeding programme.
In view of the remarkable feats which the state government recorded in the school feeding programme, observers underscore the need for the Federal Government to revitalise the programme and compel all the states to implement it.
They, nonetheless, urge well-meaning organisations and individuals to provide financial assistance for states which are unable to execute the programme due to paucity of funds. (NANFeatures)