Mid-day meals boost participation in schools
Evaluation of the impact of the Mid-Day Meal Programme in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh shows positive results.
Research recently completed into the impact of the Mid-Day Meal Programme on the enrolment, attendance and retention of students in government schools found that the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) was a key incentive, along with a school’s standard of education and number of facilities, for parents to enrol their children.
The programme is implemented by The Akshaya Patra Foundation with funding from Kusuma Trust, in Nayagarh, Orissa and Medak, Andhra Pradesh.
The evaluation also found that as a result of the meals there was higher attendance and lower absenteeism from sickness, and the meals were cited as providing stamina and increasing the physical strength and concentration of students. Teachers also reported a positive change in students’ attitude to studies and extracurricular activities, and an improvement in grades.
Three other positive outcomes of the programme include the enhancement of students’ communication skills, improved social confidence and an increased awareness of health and hygiene.
The evaluation is based on survey data collected between January and February 2012, and included interviews, observations and discussions with students, mothers, teachers, Principals, Village Council members and the teams of women who manage the preparation and distribution of the meals.
The evaluation includes recommendations on improving the MDM scheme.