A new study has revealed that academic performance and attendance in schools in five regions in the country have improved tremendously, thanks to the school-feeding programme (SFP) sponsored by the World Food Programme (WFP).
Early this year WFP commissioned the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) to conduct a baseline for the SFP.
According to ESRF executive director Dr Lunogelo Bohela, findings from the baseline survey showed that there were fewer dropouts, improved pupils’ health and even children who disliked school enjoyed their studies.
School attendance, concentration, enrollment (especially in Standard I) have increased while dodging and drop-out have decreased, he said.
Dr Bohela said interviewed teachers gave an example to show that provision of food meant a lot to pupils as some may forget their school text books, but not a cup for drinking porridge.
Some teachers reported that even the academic performance in their schools had improved as a result of strides recording in the WFP school feeding programme. The programme is jointly implemented by the WFP and the government of Tanzania through the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training.
The programme was designed to support primary education in drought prone and pastoral areas and is known as Food-For-Education (FFE). At the moment it is being implemented in 13 districts in the five regions of Arusha, Manyara, Shinyanga, Dodoma and Singida. Districts covered include Bahi, Kondoa, Kiteto, Monduli,Longido, Ngorongoro, Loliondo and Karatu.
Meanwhile, ESRF is preparing its fifth Medium Term Strategic Plan time-lined 2012 -2015, which intends to refocus the institution’s vision. According to Dr Bohela, the new ESRF Strategic Plan will be based on a thorough internal review of the organisational, operational and financial status of the Foundation.
“The strategy will guide the Plan will focus on key thematic areas of research, capacity building, policy dialogue and information dissemination, in line with MKUKUTAII and MKUZA-II,” he said.
Other issues to be addressed through research and development projects, include growth and poverty reduction, social services and quality of life, governance, regional integration, globalisation, natural resources and environment management.