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The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has launched its National Breakfast Programme, which is an iteration of the A Partnership For National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Government’s Breakfast Programme. During the APNU+AFC’s term in office, school children were the beneficiary of the 5B Programme- breakfast, buses, bicycles, boats and books.
According to the government its programme currently provides nutritious meals for 10,300 Grade Six pupils in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten.
Head teacher of West Ruimveldt Primary School, Ms. Nikole Lewis, reported increased attendance at school under the programme. Acknowledging the correlation between food and learning, she said “We know that our children will have improved performance, we already have improved attendance and punctuality…the children are coming early, they are lining up and they are waiting to get their breakfast.”
Mr. Alfred King, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, said he anticipates that by the end of October, 10,700 grade six pupils from 217 schools will benefit from the breakfast programme.
“In terms of providing for our national grade six learners right across Guyana, we thought it might be a good level if we can’t go right across the school to start with…because they are preparing for a common assessment and to make sure that they have a good chance, we thought that we needed all these interventions.”
The government announced its national feeding programme totals $2 billion. Of that sum, $267 million is budgeted for the Breakfast programme and the service is contracted to caterers within each region.
Coordinator of the programme, Mr. Mahendra Phagwah, said there will be close monitoring of the programme at each school to ensure that caterers are delivering meals that are at acceptable standard at all times.
The relaunch of the APNU+AFC’s programme earlier this month was at the Mackenzie Primary School in Region 10 as part of Education Month activities.