Mid-day meal scheme was introduced across the country to ensure that children come to schools regularly and that is what exactly is not happening in the home district of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
If authorities are to be believed, Muktsar district is in the list of 144 districts of the country, where the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme was poor - a conclusion made on the basis of large-scale absenteeism among the students. Low attendance of students in the government schools of Muktsar district is not allowing the authorities to meet the parameters set under the mid-day meal.
Manager of the mid-day meal in Muktsar district, Jaswant Singh Chabbra, said that he has been instructing the government schools every month to ensure maximum attendance of students so that the targets of the mid-day meal scheme can be achieved.
“We inspect schools regularly and send letters to 20 to 25 schools every month asking the heads to ensure attendance of students. There are around 550 schools in the district where mid-day meal scheme is implemented,” said Chabbra.
“There is problem especially with the primary school children as they skip the school regularly for various reasons. Low attendance creates problem in proper implementation of the scheme,” he said.
Experts say that failure of the mid-day meal scheme reflects that something was amiss in the education system in the Muktsar district.
As published earlier in these columns, a survey team working for Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) had presented a gloomy picture on the status of education in Muktsar. The team had found that the students in Muktsar district lacked basic knowledge.
The survey team had claimed that Muktsar district had basic infrastructure in the schools but majority students couldn't write a straight sentence in their mother tongue and were unable to solve simple mathematics problem.
“Mid-day meal scheme has come out as the mirror of the failure of education system in district. If children are not coming to the schools, little can be achieved from the facilities,” said a teacher.