MoFAGA clears confusion on school meal programme

Kathmandu, April 7

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has asked its local bodies to credit the prescribed amount to the account of the concerned community schools in various districts through a circular.

The MoFAGA issued a circular to this effect in response to a letter from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology which observed that many local bodies had confusion over expenditure norms regarding school mid-day meals programme.

The programme was launched in community schools of Okhaldhunga, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Sindhuli, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Nuwakot, Rautahat, Parsa, Gulmi and Salyan since the fiscal year 2018/19.

The MoFAGA said local levels were obliged to provide the budget to the community schools under their jurisdiction for the purpose of serving mid-day meals to students. As per the expenditure norm, the government allocates a budget of Rs 15 per student for maximum 180 days a year, through the local levels.

All children up to Grade V are entitled to enjoy the mid-day meals facility at their schools.

According to MoEST, all local levels may adopt the mid-day meal programme at community schools by following the same procedures. The programme aims to discourage dropouts and encourage children out of the school to get school education.

As per the Census 2011, 14.3 per cent of children aged between five and 12 years are out of school which is 0.77 million of the total population in this age group. Likewise, school is out of reach for many children from disadvantaged families, despite great strides Nepal has taken in improving education system over the past decades, according to the 2016 government report.

The report states that majority of children deprived of school education are in the districts of central and eastern Tarai. The key barriers to education for these children include poverty, social exclusion linked to caste/ethnicity, disability, migration, child labour, child marriage, trafficking, harmful social norms and gender biases, poor school infrastructure and staffing, language barriers, natural disasters and civil strife, and financial bottlenecks, according to the report