In Swat, a delectable reason to be in primary school

610 primary schools have benefited from the WFP scheme since 2009.

Fazal Khaliq June 01, 2012


Apart from providing education, primary schools have an added incentive for children in upper Swat. They get free food rations for attending classes under the United Nations World Food Safety Net Feeding Programme. This has subsequently upped the enrolment rate in the schools by 60 per cent, it has been learnt.

Students have been provided energy biscuits and cooking oil under the World Food Program-sponsored programme since 2009. Teachers said that the project is achieving more than their expectations.

“Apart from increasing enrolment in primary schools, the programme aims to eliminate child labour and improve attendance,” Programme Manager Amjad Ali told The Express Tribune. He said that around 130,000 children and teachers in 610 primary schools of the upper Swat have benefited from the programme.

Balancing an oil canister in his hands, Muhammad Ali, a second grader who was returning home on Wednesday, said joyously: “We get parathas (oiled flatbread) with tea at school daily in the morning, which we did not get before.”

Another schoolboy, also holding an oil canister he got from school, seemed even more jubilant than his classmates. “We are getting double advantage: study and food. We love our school,” they said in unison.

“This is an effective way of attracting children towards schools,” said Kalam Education Department Centre In-charge Shah Nazar. “We don’t need to launch new campaigns to attract students; we are already short of space to accommodate them,” he said. Nazar added the programme has also motivated parents who were initially sceptical about sending their children to school and were more inclined towards sending them to work instead.

Abdul Ghafar Khan, a teacher in Kalam, concurred. He said that with the incentive of food, even street children have been admitted to schools.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2012.


Amjad Jamal | 11 years ago | Reply

WFP school feeding initiative has multiple objectives one is to address short-term hunger faced by students coming from extremely poor families by providing high energy biscuits as mid-day snake this provides them daily a minimum of 337 – 345 kcal daily nutrient requirement of 1700 kcal. The programme also partially alleviate micronutrient deficiency amongst children by providing up to 75% of their recommended micronutrient intakes The fortified vegetable oil ration is targeting all students to provide the extra incentive to families to send their children to primary school. In times of economic hardship, disaster or in conflict it is anticipated that primary school literacy will be hardest hit as parents will cut domestic expenditures on education to cope with the shocks. In this case the take home ration seeks to act as a safety net for the family. Over 1.2 million children (girls and boys) are being benefitted through this programme across Pakistan.

Zohaib | 11 years ago | Reply

the Education department should be streamlined also

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