Kaduna Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai on Monday flagged off the free feeding programme for 1.5 million pupils in the state, which was held at the Aliyu Makama Road Primary School, Barnawa area of Kaduna metropolis.
In his remarks on the occasion, el-Rufai said the free feeding programme was the beginning of a different phase of the state government’s project to expand access to education.
He noted that with the launch of the programme, which is to serve as a direct intervention in the health of the pupils, it would, as well, place schools to promote education and nutrition among the pupils.
The governor admitted that his administration will not be surprised to hear about teething problems with the takeoff, adding that these problems will be swiftly addressed with continuous improvement, where necessary.
He said in executing the policy, perfection must not be allowed to be a restraint in doing the needful, adding that it is in the process of feeding the school children that the programme can be refined and perfected.
He said: “Every school day from today (yesterday), the Kaduna State Government will be providing a meal for 1.5 million pupils.
“It is an unprecedented undertaking in this state, but one that we solemnly pledged to do when we were campaigning.
“It is a challenge in terms of its scale, cost and the logistics required to deliver the meals everyday. But, our children deserve this, and more.
“We are conscious that it would save parents break-time money, empower the women within the community who have been selected as the catering vendors and expand the market for farm products.
“In fact, the school feeding programme is directly creating 17,000 jobs for catering vendors, each of whom will need to employ workers to help them deliver.
“Thus, there is something for everyone in the school feeding programme. In seeking to take care of our children, we are creating jobs, boosting demand and exposing our people to new skills and hygiene standards and providing extra income.
“I urge everyone involved in the programme to discharge their responsibilities with the utmost sense of commitment, transparency and accountability. The monitoring mechanism must be rigorous, and we invite the school-based management committees and Parent-Teacher Associations to review and provide us their observations on the implementation of the programme at the school level.
“We will not be surprised to hear about teething problems, but we expect these problems to be swiftly addressed within a governing ethos of continuous improvement.
“As pragmatic people, we understand that in executing policy, we must not let the perfect be a restraint on the doable. It is in the process of actually feeding our school children that we can refine and perfect the programme.”