Karnataka: 2.1 lakh govt schoolkids don’t get breakfast at home, says report | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: A report on midday meals in the state by the Karnataka Evaluation Authority says that 2.1 lakh children — 6.4% of total children in government schools — do not get breakfast at home. For them, milk given in school is the first meal of the day, pointing to the need of expanding the midday meals to breakfasts too.

The report — Evaluation of impact of midday meal schemes in Karnataka (2016-17) — was released in January 2021. “At least 199 out of 5,158 children get only one meal a day. Midday meal is their first meal; no breakfast. When this proportion of students in this sample is magnified for the state for purposes of understanding, around 2.1 lakh children attend school without breakfast. They may get supper at home for which they have to wait for around 8 hours after the midday meal at 1pm; no evening snacks also,” said the study.
49% children don’t get evening snacks
The study was commissioned to cover the period from 2016-17 to 2018-19. Primary data was collected in 2019-20. The draft report was completed by early 2020. With review meetings not being held during the pandemic year, the report was finalised recently. KEA engages in multifaceted quality checks without academic interference.
“For 49% children — 2,527 out of 5,158 — the midday meal is the second meal of the day. They get breakfast and supper at home; two meals only in a day. They have to wait for at least eight hours after they get midday meal in the afternoon at school. They do not get evening snacks after they return home from school. Life is pathetic for 49% and cruel for over 6% children of the state,” the report says.
As many kids do not have breakfast or inadequate breakfast, more than a quarter of students report they will be ‘very hungry’ by the mealtime. Almost all students report that the ‘milk’ is effective in energizing them, motivating them to participate in sports, maintaining their enthusiasm in school, facilitating concentration and improving learning levels.
The report points to the need for breakfast in schools. Noting that milk and midday meal scheme have done wonders in enrolment, retention, learning levels and health of children, it calls for an extension of the scheme to breakfast, especially in 108 drought-prone taluks. It cites the example of an NGO – SAI – which serves breakfast to 26,489 children of 301 government schools across six districts of the state.


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Sagar Biswas

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