More than half of the 73 Grade Six pupils attending the Belladrum Primary School in Region Five (Mahaica- Berbice) require breakfast daily and the newly-launched school’s breakfast programme from the Ministry of Education is filling that need.
The school’s headteacher, Savitrie Diaram, told the News Room on Wednesday that numerous pupils attend classes without eating breakfast at home.
In some instances, children do not attend school because they do not have meals.
One explanation for this, Diaram related, is that many parents seek employment in other regions. As such, the children are left in the care of guardians and grandparents who, she said, may be unable to prepare breakfast daily. Children living in those situations instead return home for lunch.
But with the Education Ministry’s newly-launched breakfast programme, these challenges are being addressed at Belladrum and the 24 other primary schools in the region.
All Grade Six pupils at these schools receive a nutritious breakfast each day.
And at Belladrum, Diaram said the children are benefitting enormously.
“Children are coming more on time and they are coming every day to school because they know they have something to look forward to,” she happily related.
It was also noted that children appear to be more focused during their classes.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, who addressed the launch of the programme at the Belladrum school on Wednesday, said this initiative is one that is expected to benefit children all across the country.
It is envisioned that the programme will be expanded to other grades in future.
The Minister also noted that the breakfast programme is one that allows people in communities, particularly women, to earn as they cater the breakfast needed by the schools.
Omedelle Amsterdam, a mother of a Grade Six pupil at the Belladrum school, was selected as the school’s caterer. In addition to the benefits a nutritious breakfast provides to her daughter and her classmates, she said it is a welcomed relief to her household.
Because her daughter gets breakfast every day, she spends less preparing breakfast for her family. Additionally, she is able to earn through her catering services.