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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Rajasthan government seeks mid-day meal also for Class 9 to 12 girls

The objective for providing mid-day meal in schools is not only to enhance the nutritional status of school going children from class 1 to 8 under the age of 6-12 years but also to encourage enrollment and regularity in attendance of the school going children.

education Updated: Oct 21, 2019 15:29 IST
Nikita Bishnoi
Nikita Bishnoi
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Children have a mid-day meal at a government school in Jaipur.
Children have a mid-day meal at a government school in Jaipur.(Himanshu Vyas/HT Photo)
         

In a bid to ensure nutrition for adolescent girls, Rajasthan government has plans to extend the mid-day meal scheme to school girls from class 9 to 12. Education minister Govind Singh Dotasra raised the issue with the Union ministry of human resource and development at a special session of the Central Advisory board of Education (CABE) meeting held in September.

Presently mid-day meals are provided in 66493 primary and upper primary schools in Rajasthan under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The objective for providing mid-day meal in schools is not only to enhance the nutritional status of school going children from class 1 to 8 under the age of 6-12 years but also to encourage enrollment and regularity in attendance of the school going children.

Almost 60% of funds under the mid-day meal scheme is provided by the central government while the rest comes from the state government.

Education minister Dotasara said that even as the nutrition of the students from class 1 to class 8 is being ensured by the government, adolescent girls from class 9 and above are left out. He said the state government would like to implement the scheme Rajasthan schools if the central government agrees to aid the programme.

“The adolescent girls need proper nutrition, which they often don’t get in their homes. We thought if the schools are ensuring proper nutrition for young children then we should also ensure proper nutrition for adolescent girls in schools,” said Dotasra.

“Gender disparity in terms of nutrition at homes still prevails. At least, the schools can ensure that the girls are getting nutritious food at the age when they need it the most. We are presently waiting for nod from the central government since we have conveyed our word to them,” he added.

On September 21, at a special session of CABE organised by MHRD to discuss the draft on National policy, education minister Dotsra had suggested the programme to the central government.

The session was attended by the education ministers of other states along with HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ to discuss the draft on National Education Policy.

As per a press release on October 11, Dotsara said that he has urged the central government to support the step in order to ensure proper nutrition for school girls from class 9 to class 12. He was present at an event at Shiksha Sankul, Jaipur on the eve of International day for girl child.

Education department officials said that the state awaits the nod of the central government which will provide a similar aid for the extension of the programme as it gives for the present mid-day meal scheme. The department also sent a proposal regarding extending the mid-day meal programme for girls of class 9 to class 12 in the Project Approval Board meeting of the MHRD in June this year, however, the department still awaits MHRD’s reply, said a senior official of the department.