Evaluating the School Feeding Program's Contribution to Students' Learning in Primary Schools of the Sidama Region, Ethiopia


Academic Paper, 2023

10 Pages


Excerpt


CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

2. LITERATURE

3. METHODOLOGY AND MATERIALS

4. RESULTS

5. DISCUSSION

6. CONCLUSIONS

7. SUGGESTIONS

REFERENCES

Abstract

Background:The school feeding programme is a social safety net instrument that targets children in chronically food insecure areas, protects them against the worst consequences of household food insecurity, and contributes to better learning and educational outcomes as well as better nutrition. However, there is limited information on the intervention's impact on children's nutritional status and school attendance. The study aims to evaluate the school feeding program's contribution to students’ learning in primary schools in Sidama Region, Ethiopia, in order to recommend the scalability of the programme.

Methods:The study was conducted based on representative data collected from 177 participants drawn from the region. A school-based cross-sectional study was conducted on students, school teachers, principals, community representatives, supervisors, and woreda education office heads. Data was analyzed depending on the nature of the response, both quantitative and qualitative, using a descriptive approach.

Results: The findings reveal that the programme has achieved access to education for vulnerable parties, served the targeted groups, encouraged low-income parents to send their children to school on time, been able to respond to and address problems of education wastage, reduced the dropout rate, and contributed to improving the quality of education and student performance.

Conclusion:Improvement is needed in formal planning and implementation, the human, financial, financial and material inputs, transparency, formal structure, policy framework, implementation guidelines, regulation, the attention of the government, and integration with non-governmental organizations. The programme should extend to other schools and students, considering its contribution to improving the quality of education and student performance.

Key words: School feeding program, Evaluation, Students’ learning, schools.

1. INTRODUCTION

Nutritional and health status are powerful influences on a child’s learning and how well he or she performs in school. Children who lack certain nutrients in their diet or who suffer from protein-energy malnutrition, hunger, parasitic infections, or other diseases do not have the same potential for learning as healthy and well-nourished children. MOE (2012) set objectives like improving the quality of education by ensuring the development of child-friendly school environments, promoting joint planning, designing, and implementation of sustainable and quality health and nutrition interventions across the education sector, and ensuring that the right to quality and access to education continue to be facilitated for vulnerable groups. School feeding programmes (SFP) also aim to improve the educational achievement of schoolchildren through health and nutrition interventions in education, and increasing community participation through different mechanisms leads to bringing absentee and dropout students back to school (Abebe G/Silassie et al., 2011).

School feeding is a programme that provides food for students from lower-income households. According to the MOE (2012), SFP is a social safety net instrument that targets children in chronically food insecure areas, protects them against the worst consequences of household food insecurity, and contributes to better learning and educational outcomes as well as better nutrition. The programme is one of the components or cross-cutting programmes of the education sector development programme (ESDP) and the school health and nutrition programme. SFP is one of several interventions that can address some of the nutrition and health problems of school-age children Thus, in Ethiopia, this programme was launched with the cooperation of the ministries of education, health, child and women's affairs, and agriculture. The general objective of SFP is to improve the quality of education, students’ performance, and access to education for vulnerable groups (i.e., girls, orphans, children with low income, people with disabilities, and people with special needs). SFP could encourage quality education by improving quality learning and education for those children who are from poor households. To create effective education systems and effective learning environments, all stakeholders need to come together in a meaningful way, through collaboration and, therefore, connection. In education, the term stakeholder typically refers to anyone who is invested in the welfare and success of a school. The main stakeholders of SFP are students, school principals, teachers, administrators, staff members, parents, community members, local business leaders, the woreda education office, the regional education bureau, MOE, and international donors.

In line with the country, the Sidama regional state education bureau, implemented the school feeding programme at selected woredas that were frequently attacked by drought and flood, aiming to support vulnerable groups in order to access education opportunities and enhance the students results. In the Sidama region, SFP started in 2019 by providing the schoolchildren with fresh traditional foods, locally purchased, and more diversified foods than the common. The programme has been designed to be implemented in 10 woredas, and 34,500 schoolchildren have been included. According to the Sidama region Education Bureau report (2022), the budget was transferred to the woreda education office through the finance sector, and then the necessary commodities (maize, oilseed, oil, etc.) were purchased by the finance office from the local farmers’ cooperative union, providing a hot lunch for students from Monday to Friday.

In the country as well as in regions, despite the fact that SFP has been in place for a while, there is a lack of adequate evidence regarding its contribution to the students’ learning improvement and educational quality. This study will therefore contribute to gaining an understanding of the contribution of the programme to the students’ learning improvement and educational quality in order to expand the programme to other districts in Sidama Region, Ethiopia.

2. LITERATURE

Under nutrition remains a serious public health issue in developing nations, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa Mwaniki M. (2013). Schools are uniquely positioned to encourage healthy eating behaviors and attitudes in children; unfortunately, school-age children are rarely included in health and nutrition surveys, and an up-to-date picture of their nutritional status is unavailable Best et al. (2010). A significant minority of African schoolchildren are malnourished, stunted, or suffer from short-term hunger Tomlinson, M. (2007) Local studies in Ethiopia have also revealed that malnutrition is a big public health issue. In 2015, around 31% of schoolchildren were undernourished, with 19.6% stunted, 15.9% underweight, and 14.0% wasting. Wolde M. et al. (2015). The nutritional state of school-aged children has an impact on their health, cognition, and, as a result, scholastic attainment. Poor health and inadequate nutrition are likely to impair cognitive development in school-aged children, either through physiological changes or by limiting their ability to participate in learning events, or both, according to Del Rosso JM and Marek T (1994).

Hunger has also been a significant impediment to children's education. As a result, many school-age children in food-insecure communities miss school. Assefa E. and Tefera D. (2017.The School Feeding Programme (SFP), according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (2011), is a tool that allows children all over the world to attend school. Millions of children benefit from SFPs that have been in place for years in affluent nations such as the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom. FAO (2011). SFP benefits poor children based on indications of physical growth and cognitive capacities Lawson TM (2017) School feeding may enhance school enrollment, dropout rates, and attendance in addition to lowering under nutrition. FAO (2011). However, the effects of SFP on schoolchildren's nutritional and educational outcomes are still being debated. Some studies have found that SFP has no substantial influence on class attendance. Dheressa DK. (2017). While school feeding can alleviate nutritional deficits and hunger, the effect of SFP on children's growth trajectory may be minimal. Grillenberger M. et al. (2013) According to research, school-age children may be too old to experience catch-up growth or recover from growth stalls Bettelheim A. et al. (2011) The Ethiopian national SFP is collaboration between the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Federal Ministry of Education.

3. METHODOLOGY AND MATERIALS

The main objective of the study was Evaluating school feeding program contribution on students’ learning in primary schools of Sidama Region. For the evaluation a mixed (Creswell, J.W., 2009), approach has implemented using the relevant elements of the existing policy and strategies to guide the evaluation design in consultation with key internal stakeholders. The assessment was based on secondary as well primary data sources, using different data collection techniques, including: semi structured interviews, surveys and document sorting. Systematic data triangulation across different sources and methods has been carried out to validate findings. The selection of informants and site visits ensure to the extent possible that all representatives sampled. Total 177 respondents (Students, School Teachers, principals, woreda education office heads supervisors and community representatives’ have been involved as informants.

4. RESULTS

Table 1: Responses to ward School feeding program implementation

Illustrations are not included in the reading sample

Concerning implementation,the programme has an insufficient formal plan and isn’t fully being implemented in accordance with the pre-planned mode.Regarding the suitability of feeding programme-specific goals to the targeted users, 79% of respondent participants perceived or evaluated them as high achievements. Similarly, they stated that the engagement and collaboration of concerned stakeholders increased from time to time. In terms of the human, financial, and material resource supply of the programme, 42% evaluated it as low or medium, while 48% responded with high achievement. We can observe from this figure that a significant number of respondents evaluated as inputs are insufficient to implement the programme. The qualitative data from community representatives, principals, teachers, and education office heads supports these concepts by saying that, the shortage of human resources, budgets, dining hall, water service, wood fire supply, consuming materials, etc. were some problems that needed improvements. About the time relevance of the programme, 48 and 52 percent responded medium and high, respectively. The interview respondents supported this by saying that the budget allocation time and the task assigned to the programme did not match.

Regarding addressing the relevant body and serving accordingly, 25% of respondents evaluated that not that much expected service was being delivered, while 75% of them evaluated that high achievement had been recorded. From here, we can understand that the school feeding programme is serving the targeted groups, but it needs perfection. Additionally, the qualitative data respondents provided clearly showed that in order to provide enough service, the programme needed its own structures separated from academic activities. On the subject of transparency in programme implementation for all stakeholders, 80% evaluated it as being clear for concerned stakeholders. However, the interview and open-ended participant evaluation on their side indicate that further improvement should require holistic, transparent involvement. Finally, the participant asked for their gauge in terms of the program's monitoring and evaluation in a timely manner with stakeholders. Among respondents, 60% have evaluated it as a high rate extent, but a significant number (40%) have tested it as needing improvement.

The supplementary data from open-ended questions and interviews shows that lack of training on how to manage the programme, less commitment from the side of principals and teachers seeing the programme as an additional task, the behavior of children to handle feeding equipment, not delivering food on time, water and fair wood supply shortages, less transparency, shortage of safe feeding halls, not timely allocation of budget, less availability of all needed resources, not monitoring and evaluating on time, and an unequal proportion of food per student were more frequently observable challenges. The sources also present that in order to improve and sustain the programme, transparency, formal structure, policy framework, implementation guidelines, regulation, the attention of the government, integration with non-governmental organizations, and stationary equipment are needed.

Table 2: Responses to ward School feeding program contribution

Illustrations are not included in the reading sample

From the point of view of programme contribution, in order to reduce delays and absences of students, 74% of respondents evaluated it as having achieved what was expected. Concerning the question of whether the programme has encouraged low-income parents to send their children to school on time, 82% of respondents evaluated it as having recorded high achievements. Additionally, the qualitative data from principals, teachers, community representatives, and woreda education heads confirmed that the problem perceived before the programme was implemented in this regard has been solved and low-income parents have been encouraged to send their children to school on time. Additionally, the majority of respondents confirmed that the school feeding programme has decreased lateness, absenteeism, dropout rate, and repetition rate compared with before. This is also supported by interviewees’ responses and relevant documents from education offices. Similarly, the fact that the list of evaluations was rated by quantitative respondents (76%) and other qualitative informants revealed that the programme had reduced the most common problem of dropout rate that schools had faced for a long period of time.

On the subject of the satisfaction of target beneficiaries with the programme, the majority of respondents evaluated that there is high satisfaction in terms of the service that has been provided. On the other hand, 31%, not the least number of respondents, have expressed that there are also unsatisfied practices in implementation. The one goal of SFP is to contribute to improving the quality of education and student performance. In this regard, 79% of respondents rated their contribution as having been seen. We can understand from this that the programme has been achieving its intended goal of education.

Concerning the program's ability to provide vulnerable parties with access to education, 78% have been rated as high achievers. This is also supported by qualitative respondents who state that children who are prohibited from attending school as well as those who do not have access to education due to economic, social, and personal issues now have the opportunity to learn. Relating to the positive social and economic impact of the school feeding programme on children and parents, the majority of respondents evaluated it as having a high positive impact for direct and indirect beneficiaries.

5. DISCUSSION

The school feeding programme has an insufficient formal plan and is not fully implemented in accordance with the pre-planned mode. Participants suggest shortages of human resources, budgets, the dining hall, water service, wood fire supply, consuming materials, etc. The transparency of programme implementation for all stakeholders is clear, but further improvement is needed for holistic, transparent involvement. From the point of view of programme contribution, most respondents rated the school feeding programme as successful in reducing delays and absences of students; it is successful in encouraging low-income parents to send their children to school on time; it is successful in reducing lateness, absenteeism, dropout rate, and repetition rate; it is successful in ensuring access to education for vulnerable parties; it has having high positive impact for direct and indirect beneficiaries; and it has increased student enrollment and formal education follow-up.

The school feeding programme lacks a defined strategy and is not fully implemented according to the pre-planned method. A significant number of respondents rate it as a high achievement, and stakeholder participation and collaboration have risen over time. The programme's human, financial, and material resource supplies are low and medium, respectively, and its time relevance is medium and high. Qualitative data from community members, administrators, teachers, and education office chiefs indicates a lack of human resources, funds, dining halls, water service, wood fire supply, and consumption goods, among other things. Transparency in programme implementation is evident for all stakeholders, but more work is needed to achieve holistic transparency. Programme monitoring and evaluation with stakeholders in a timely manner is a high priority, but a considerable number of programmes need improvement.

6.CONCLUSIONS

The objective of this evaluation is to assess the implementation process, management, output, outcome, impact, and sustainability of the programme and then, provide valuable information for the main concerned stakeholders in order to improve access and management and make changes based on the results. The data reveals that, despite the shortcoming observed in implementation, in fact, the programme has achieved access to education for vulnerable parties, served the targeted groups, encouraged low-income parents to send their children to school on time, been able to respond to and address problems of education wastage, reduced the dropout rate, and contributed to improving the quality of education and student performance. The sources also present that in order to improve and sustain the programme; it needs expansion to other schools, transparency, formal structure, policy framework, implementation guidelines, regulation, the attention of the government, integration with non-governmental organizations, and stationary equipment.

7. SUGGESTIONS

In order to implement the SFP in an organized manner, schools should have a formal plan and implement it in accordance with a pre-planned mode, with improved human resources, budget and allocation time, dining hall, water service, wood fire supply, consuming materials, and transparency of programme implementation for all stakeholders. Even though the school feeding programme is serving the targeted groups, the service delivery mode should need improvement to meet target group satisfaction.The performance of the programme has been strong and should continue unabated. It has been successful in reducing latecomers and absences of students, encouraging low-income parents to send their children to school on time, and reducing the waste of education. The SFP goal is to ensure access to education for vulnerable parties, and the education bureau, district education office, and school itself should conduct timely monitoring and evaluation based on the programme plan. Leaders should expand the programme; expect transparency, formal structure, a policy framework, regulation, government attention, and human, financial, and material supplies.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: The authors declares that no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.

ETHICALISSUE:In studies involving human participants, the researcher introduced the objective and advantage of the study to the respondents, obtained their voluntary participation, and kept it confidential. Participants agreed to participate in the present study upon answering the questionnaire.

DATAAVAILABILITY: The readers can access to the data through the reference materials that I have presented.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: I would like to express my sincere and heart-feeling thanks to all participants for their time, effort, and contributions.

REFERENCES

Abebe G/silassie (2011).Evaluative Research on the Effectiveness of the School im provement Program with Particular Reference to Schools in Eastern Gojjam Administration Zone.Amhara National Reginal State Education Bureau Research journal. Vol 14 (1), 1.

Assefa E and Tefera D (2017).The impact of school feeding program on student academic performance: the case of selected elementary schoolsin Debre Libanos wereda, Oromia region. http://etd.aau.edu.et/handle/123456789/ 7013.

Best C,Et.al., (2010).The nutritional status of school-aged children: why should we care? Food NutrBull.31(3):400–17.http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/ 156482651003100303.

Creswell, J.W. (2009).Research design Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches.SAGE Publications. Inc. London. 3rd edition.

Del Rosso JM and Marek T(1994).Class action: improving school performance in the developing world through better health and nutrition. Washington, D.C: The World Bank; http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/ 291721468172154700.

Dheressa DK. (2017).Education in focus: impacts of school feeding program on school participation: a case study in Dara Woreda of Sidama zone, southern Ethiopia. https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/handle/11250/187763.

Food and Agricultural Organization. (2011).Guidelines for measuring household and individual dietary diversity.Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; http://www.fao.org/3/a-i1983e.pdf.

Grillenberger M, et.al. (2013).Food supplements have a positive impact on weight gain and the addition of animal source foods increases lean body mass of Kenyan school children. J Nutr.133 (11):3957–64. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14672296.

Lawson TM (2017).Impact of school feeding programs on educational, nutritional, and agricultural development goals: a systematic review of literature. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/be53/

Ministry of Education. (2012).National School Health and Nutrition Strategy of Ethiopia. Addis Ababa.

Mwaniki M. (2013).Nutrition status and associated factors among children in public primary schools in Dagoretti, Nairobi, Kenya. Afr Health Sci ; 13(1): 39 -46. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3645091/].

Sidama region Education bureau (2022).Annual report. Hawassa, Ethiopia.

Tomlinson M.(2007).School feeding in east and southern Africa: improving food sovereignty or photoopportunity?Retrieved from http://equinetafrica.org/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/.

Wolde M, et.al., (2015).Determinants of underweight, stunting and wasting among schoolchildren.BMC Public Health. P.15:8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-014-1337-2. Buttenheim A, et.al., (2011). Impact evaluation of school feeding programs in Lao PDR. Retrieved https://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/abs/10.1596/1813-9450-5518

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Title
Evaluating the School Feeding Program's Contribution to Students' Learning in Primary Schools of the Sidama Region, Ethiopia
College
Hawassa University  (College of Education)
Author
Year
2023
Pages
10
Catalog Number
V1376014
ISBN (eBook)
9783346912145
Language
English
Keywords
evaluating, school, feeding, program, contribution, students, learning, primary, schools, sidama, region, ethiopia
Quote paper
Bekele Tunsisa (Author), 2023, Evaluating the School Feeding Program's Contribution to Students' Learning in Primary Schools of the Sidama Region, Ethiopia, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1376014

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