Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Impact of Mid-Day Meal Scheme on educational and nutritional status of school children in India

A meal that supports education in a wholesome way!
Way back in 2001 on the twentieth day of November, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate stating, "We direct the State Governments/Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary School with a prepared mid-day meal."

The objectives of this Mid-Day Meal Scheme were:

  • avoid classroom hunger;
  • increase school enrolment;
  • increase school attendance;
  • improve socialisation among castes;
  • address malnutrition; and
  • empower women through employment.

During 2018-19, 9.12 crore children in 11.35 lakh schools were benefitted from Central Government’s hot cooked nutritious mid-day meals.

Role of NGOs in MDM Scheme

It wouldn’t be wrong to refer mid-day meals as food for education. This Scheme has proved to be a potential incentive for parents to choose school over labour for their children. Parents send their children to school with the hope that the young ones will receive at least one proper meal a day; in turn helping these little kids to receive education too.

The importance of this meal has been well-understood by the Government taking the step to include NGOs as their implementing partner so that more children can be brought under the ambit of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Several NGOs such as The Akshaya Patra Foundation thus has been implementing this much-needed programme across India. The collective impact of efforts put in by the Government and NGOs has resulted in the following positives among children:

  • Regularity in attendance;
  • Reduced drop-out rate;
  • Improved health and concentration;
  • Increased participation and improved performance in school activities.
  •  Increased enrolment;
The real impact of mid-day meals

For a growing child, nutrition is an important factor. But challenging socio-economic backgrounds of children deprive them of the required amount of nutrition. This hinders their development while also impacting their cognitive abilities. In a concerning situation as this, the mid-day meals come by as a blessing.

The mid-day meal, whether provided by government agencies or non-governmental agencies (NGOs) have to adhere to the recommended dietary norms set by the Central Mid-Day Meal Scheme. This adherence ensures that children receive at least one meal for the day that is nutritious and wholesome; contributing to the nutritional need of children. This nutrition directly impacts physical, cognitive, and social development of children.

A significant initiative by the Government, this meal is truly food for education because it directly supports all education-related schemes of the government. It not only contributes towards right to education but also towards quality of learning.

Support mid-day meals of children

India, a home to millions of children needs the support and participation of all of us. When you contribute to schemes like this that address issues right from the ground level, you help to recreate the society in a more sustainable manner. Donate to children of India, for their food for education and feel proud to be a contributing citizen of the country. Also, get rewarded for being a responsible citizen in the form of income tax relief under Section 80G of Income Tax Act of India.

Nourish. Nurture. Be Proud.

Author Profile:
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an Indian NGO implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme along with several child-centric initiatives. Your support to Akshaya Patra can potentially improve lives of millions of children with health and education.


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