In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Nairobi County has announced its plan to offer complimentary meals to students in primary schools as part of the school feeding program.
The declaration followed a consultative meeting held on Thursday involving Education CS Ezekiel Machogu, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, and Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie.
Machogu emphasized that the program aims to enhance learners’ motivation, especially those residing in slums and informal settlements within Nairobi.
Also present at the meeting were Principal Secretary of Basic Education Belio Kipsang and Principal Secretary of Higher Education and Research Beatrice Inyangala.
During a session in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Machogu clarified that the payment of lunch fees for Junior Secondary School learners is not obligatory.
He explained that according to the guidelines for implementing Junior Secondary School, parents are responsible for providing meals for their children.
Machogu referred to Guideline 8.6 (i), stating that parents or guardians should either pay fees for the school’s lunch program or pack lunches for their children. He also highlighted Guideline 8.6 (iii), which emphasizes that the school administration must ensure that no student drops out due to non-payment of lunch fees.
The Education CS emphasized that these two clauses do not contradict each other. In Guideline 8.6 (i), parents can contribute towards providing school lunch or providing their children with packed meals.
Machogu explained the typical process where the Board of Management organizes a meeting with parents to discuss and agree on a specific amount for each parent to contribute towards the school lunch program. Parents who prefer to pack lunch for their children have the option to do so.
He clarified, “It is not mandatory; it is optional. Some parents choose not to pay and decide to provide meals from home for their children.”
The Ministry of Education has committed to assisting Sakaja in hastening the rollout of the program to a number of primary schools located within the city.
In order to make the school feeding initiative a reality, Governor Sakaja announced plans to construct central kitchens that will be used to serve meals to public schools.
The first-time governor gave a firsthand glimpse at the massive kitchen he is constructing in Nairobi to fulfill the pledge on Monday, June 5.
“I am excited to see the progress on Africa’s largest kitchen being built right here in Nairobi. This kitchen leads the way by using 100 per cent green energy through modern cooking technology.