The Cabinet on Monday (August-19) approved the draft of the National School Meal Policy 2019, aiming to bring all the government primary schools under the midday-meal programme by 2023.
The approval came at a cabinet meeting held with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her office.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam briefed media at the secretariat.Shaiful Alam said the Primary and Mass Education Ministry would implement the programme.
Cabinet Secretary said that at present, the programme is being implemented at the government primary schools in 104 upazilas as a pilot project. It will be introduced across the country at phases. All the government primary schools will come under the scheme by 2013.
In line with the policy, the government will form a National School Meal Authority to supervise the overall activities and an advisory committee comprising eminent personalities of the society to evaluate and give necessary advices to make it successful, Shafiul Alam added.
He said that the midday meal would have to meet 30 percent calories and 50 percent micronutrient of the primary school students aged 3 to 12 years.
As many as 1.40 crore students of 66,000 government primary schools across the country will be provided with midday meals by 2023 and it will require Taka 2,835 crore per year for giving fortified biscuits to the students, Taka 5,560 crore for giving cooked foods in five days and biscuits in one day and Taka 7,475 crore to give egg, banana and bread, additional secretary development Md Gias Uddin Ahmed of the Primary and Mass Education Ministry said media.
He told that the rate of presence of the students has increased by 11 percent in schools where cooked foods are being served and by 6 percent where biscuits are being given to the students.
He added that the government is currently giving a 75-gram pack of biscuit to nearly three million children at primary schools in 104 upazilas under the current project involving Taka 474 crore and it will end by December in 2020, The government is giving cooked midday meal to primary school students in three upazilas including Bamna and Islampur of Jamalpur of Barguna, Jamalpur and Bandarban.
The additional secretary told that a study showed, the attendance rate in schools increases while the dropout rate declines significantly in the case of providing cooked food.