The government, through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, says it will resume the schools feeding programme which is meant to meet the nutritional needs of learners and reduce absenteeism due to hunger.
Under the schools feeding programme, the government provides beans, and grain which is then processed into maize flour to prepare meals for learners.
However, the programme was abruptly suspended this year.
The matter was raised during the week-long Strategic Choices for Education Reform in Eastern and Southern Africa meeting in Victoria Falls.
The meeting was hosted by the World Bank and Global Partnership for Education and was attended by education directors and Permanent Secretaries from Eastern and Southern Africa, including education partners.
Speaking during the meeting, Phathugwalo Masuku, the headmaster of Chamabondo Primary School said there are some learners who needed to be fed as lack of food was affecting their performance. He said:
We cannot feed the children on a daily basis because of budgetary constraints. It is true that we have some learners who cannot come to school well-nourished and that is affecting their performance in class.
We wish the feeding programme can be resuscitated so that learners get at least a meal per day at school.
Responding to the concerns, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu said the scheme was temporarily suspended because of corruption in the procurement processes. She said:
As for the schools feeding programme, we had a challenge with procurement, that’s why we haven’t started giving maize.
People were charging too much and the Ministry of Finance said we can’t charge using black market rates.
Now that we are coming back to normal schools will resume feeding programmes.