Sen. Danjuma Laah (PDP- Kaduna South), on Monday described the primary school feeding programme introduced by the Kaduna State Government as a 'misplaced priority.''
Kaduna primary school feeding programme a misplaced priority
"We should also be careful so that we do not create a situation where children wake up thinking more of their plates and spoons, instead of their books and pencils,'' he stated.
Laah told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos that the government should rather use the funds used in running the programme to rehabilitate dilapidated structures in the schools.
"From the government records, so much is sunk into feeding the pupils; for a state that is battling with many issues, feeding children in schools should never be a priority.''
Laah claimed that he had visited some of the schools to assess the feeding programme and discovered some of the schools conduct lessons under trees.
"I found that in some schools in my own Kaura Local Government, the feeding was done under trees as the primary schools' classes had collapsed.
"I also found that some of the classes did not have roofs, not to talk of furniture.
"My advice is that the enormous resources going into the feeding programme will be better utilised if classes are built and furnished.
"We could also sink that kind of money into purchasing uniforms, text and exercise books for the pupils, to minimise the stress on their parents,'' he said.
The senator said that the state government should also create conducive teaching and learning atmosphere, especially since the rains had begun.
Laah believed that such intervention would reduce cases of abandonment of schools during rainy season by teachers and pupils due to lack of shelter.
He also alleged that some teachers were still being owed salaries, and advised the state government to promptly pay them in order to raise teachers' morale for optimum performance.
"In introducing the programme, the state government said that it was seeking to attract more young people into schools, but when you attract more people, there has to be commensurate rise in structures. This has not been done.
"Again, we should be careful not to make food a priority to the children, otherwise we may end up with a situation where the pupils get more attracted to the food than their studies.
Laah called for more incentives for teachers via regular payment of salaries, housing and motorcycle loans, to stimulate them to do more for the society.
He also advised government to plug areas of waste so as to save resources to execute projects that would be beneficial to the society.
The senator also called for special attention to rural areas, especially the provision of roads to open up the hinterland for development to flourish.
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