Half of the children studying in government owned schools are fortunate enough as 45% of state schools still maintain quality of mid-day meals provided to them. This fact came out in a survey conducted by MP Lok Shiksha Sajha Manch last year.
The most interesting finding of the survey that was conducted in 90 villages of 10 districts was the lack of effective monitoring system was responsible for deteriorating quality of mid-day meals. Survey found out that 72% of the schools in the year 2011 used to be monitored by SMC (school management committees), people’s representatives and community members. Surprisingly, last year (2012) only 57% of schools were found to be monitored by people representatives and community members, resulting in downtrend of quality of mid-day meals in government schools.
Javed Anis, secretary of MPLSSM (MP Lok Shiksha Sajha Manch) says that according to survey findings in 2011 due to effective monitoring and surveillance by community members and representatives, quality food was served in about 73% of schools. “This number has now been reduced to only 57% in absence of effective monitoring system,” said Anis.
The survey was conducted in 121 schools (including rural and urban). School children were getting quality mid- day meal in 54 schools only, which amounts to 45%. Comparing the figures to last year survey, 28% more schools had been included in deteriorating mid-day meal scheme slot.
Survey also found that monitoring in 48% schools was conducted by president of school management committees (SMC) thereby leaving no room for monitoring by community members and people representatives. Only 9% of the schools were monitored by village folks while representatives monitor only 4% of the surveyed schools. About 16% schools adopted an inclusive monitoring system where community members, villagers, representatives and members of SMCs monitored the mid-day meals. Women monitored midday meals in 10% schools.
“I feel that if we are given powers to monitor mid-day meals, quality of food would not be an issue at all,” said Dinesh Sharma, panch of Binapur village in Phanda block of Bhopal district.
There still are many schools where kitchen shed has not been constructed. At several other places the sheds are not in condition where mid-day meal could be cooked and alternative places are used hampering monitoring, says the survey.