By Kampala Post Reporter
“You cannot attain quality education with hungry children in class,” the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni has told the people of Mubende District where she has been to remind parents on their basic responsibility of providing nutritious feeding for their children at home and while at school.
The First Lady, who was hosted on a talkshow by Point FM Radio Station in Mubende Municipality on Thursday, said Ugandans have been criticizing the quality of education in some of the schools, but how do they expect the quality to change when their children go to school only 3 days a week due to ill health and when the children often spend the time in class on empty stomachs.
“Try and imagine, how can a child who stays hungry at school concentrate and perform well in class?” she inquired during the talkshow moderated by Sam Balaba Magala.
Mrs. Museveni said that the countrywide campaign for school feeding and nutrition that she has embarked on is supposed to help her fulfill her role, as the Minister of Education, of ensuring that the children of Uganda access all the requirements that will enable them attain quality education.
“However, the responsibility of feeding the children is primarily for the parent,” she emphasized.
She observed that naturally when parents bring children in the world, they have the responsibility to care for them until they grow, which in simple terms means that a parent must have a home for the child (shelter), food and clothing. “These are the basic requirements which no parent needs to be reminded of as they bring their children on this earth.”
“I request leaders at all level of Local Government, religious and cultural leaders and others in their respective capacities to talk to the parents from the same page reminding them about their cardinal responsibility to feed their children,” she added.
She informed the Point FM listeners that a research recently conducted by the Ministry of Education found that in areas where children are well fed, they are healthy and not stunted, they are happy and disciplined and there is increased enrollment, improved retention rates, reduced absenteeism, reduced drop outs and these children perform well at school.
She criticized parents who think that reminding them to feed their children is bad saying that they must have something wrong in their heads. She also discouraged those who feed their children on posho alone saying they at least need to add a vegetable to make the food nutritious.
While responding to a caller who wanted to know what Government was going to do about schools that lack science laboratories, Mrs. Museveni said the Education Ministry is now going to build comprehensive schools that will have all school facilities including classrooms, laboratories, administration blocks and teachers’ houses among others.
She also acknowledged the current inadequate number of teachers but said the Ministry of Education’s hands are still tied and it cannot recruit more teachers because of inadequate funding.
The State Minister for Kampala Capital City Authority and also Woman MP Mubende District, Benny Namugwanya Bugembe reminded the people of Mubende about the Luganda proverb that says “you can only reap what you sow” and advised them to give their children a firm foundation by feeding them with nutritious foods if they want them to become doctors, engineers or members of parliament and responsible people in future. She also urged the LC1 Chairmen, Parish Chiefs and Sub county leaders to vigorously play their roles and monitor parents in their jurisdiction to ensure that they feed their children.
Mubende District LCV Chairman Kibuuka Amooti and the District Education Officer warned the people of Mubende that implementation of Mubende District Education Ordinance will soon commence and they will strongly enforce the penalties therein to anyone who goes against it, for instance those parents who fail to provide meals for their children while at school. According to them, School feeding in Mubende is still low at 40%.
Among other leaders who welcomed the First Lady in Mubende were MPs Dr. Michael Bukenya for Bukuya, Anthony Ssemuli of Mubende Municipality, Simeo Nsubuga for Kassanda South, Theodore Ssekikubo for Rwemiyaga, the proprietor of Point FM Radio, RDC Evelyn Kizza Tinkamalirwe and the CAO for Mubende District Lillian Nakamatte.