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Minister of Education, Ms. Priya Manickchand, recently announced the launch of the National Breakfast Programme, which will provide a daily meal to Grade Six students in Region Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and 10.
School feeding programme is not new in Guyana. It dates back to the 1960s. It was stopped for a time but returned in a structured way during the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) coalition government. The Government of Guyana with the technical support of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) launched that project which was part of the coalition’s 5B programme- Breakfast, Buses, Boats, Bicycles and Books. The programme was put on hiatus during the pandemic when the country was under lock down.
The AFC has expressed its pleasure in seeing the return of the Coalition Government’s 5 Bs programme that had provided for school children across all Ten Administrative Regions of Guyana.
Under the 5Bs initiative, nutritious hot meals were provided for children who needed it and various modes of transport for children who travelled lengthy distances daily to attend school, the party reminded, pointing out that the programme received wide support from the private business sector, and contributed to children staying in school, especially those of low-income families.
Further, the party said the recent announcement by the minister of education that breakfast will be provided for Grade Six pupils is testimony that the Coalition’s 5Bs programme was a good one and needs to be continued.
As the AFC made known they look forward to the full resumption of the 5B Programme, they said it is also good to hear students will be provided with textbooks which took place prior to the PPP taking government in 1992.
As part of the People’s National Congress government’s education policy, education was made free from nursery to university and became right as enshrined at Article 27 in the Constitution of Guyana. Students were given free exercise books, textbooks, meals, transportation, and for a short time, uniform material produced by the local Sanata Textile Mill.