Mangaluru, Bantwal kids don't want mid-day meals during holidays

Schoolchildren and their parents in the drought-hit taluks of Mangaluru and Bantwal taluks have expressed their unwillingness to utilise midday meals under the Akshara Dasoha programme of the state government.

Speaking to DH, Akshara Dasoha education officer Rajalakshmi said that the commissioner of the Department of Public Instructions had issued an order on March 7 to gather the consent of the parents of schoolchildren in drought-hit taluks to avail of the facility of mid-day meals under Akshara Dasoha scheme during summer vacations. As there is room for resent on grounds that the children have to come to school only for the sake of mid-day meals, an idea of conducting summer camp ‘Besige Sambhrama’ in the schools through District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) had been simultaneously proposed by the Department.

“Accordingly, a meeting of Akshara Dasoha assistant directors, DDPI, block education officers and cluster resource persons of the district was conducted. There are 476 schools in Mangaluru taluk and 299 in Bantwal that are benefited by Akshara Dasoha, she said and added that although Class 8 is covered under Akshara Dasoha, the students will be passed out and therefore were not included under mid-day meal in summer vacation,” said the education officer.

The order of the government was conveyed to the parents of the schoolchildren studying in Classes 1 to 7 in the government and aided schools in Mangaluru and Bantwal taluks.

Rajalakshmi further said that the school development and monitoring committees consulted the parents of the students, who were asked to fill the response formats. As per the gathered feedback, the children and their parents have expressed their unwillingness to utilise both, the mid-day meals and the summer camps.

ZP CEO Dr M R Ravi, speaking with DH, said that the response from the parents of schoolchildren was not very surprising as Mangaluru and Bantwal taluks have been enlisted under drought-hit regions for the first time.

“The mid-day meals being extended to summer vacations, too, is a first-of-its-kind in these taluks or in the district. There is a similar kind of response in the drought-hit taluks of Udupi district as well. However, consent of the parents of the schoolchildren as well as the children is a must to implement the programme,” he added.

Except for the drought-hit taluks in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, all other taluks in the state are willing to make use of the facility, which has started on April 17. Grains were supplied to schools in March for the same.

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