Mid-day meals are one of the important scheme of the Government specially for poor children. Recent issues of mid-day meals, which caused death of 23 students in Bihar after consuming a mid-day meal served at a primary school have made parents panic about their children's life.
They just can't give it anymore chance. While most of the parents, inspite of their poorness were happy about their children being fed by the government in the name of 'Mid-day Meal Scheme', are now withdrawing from it.
NGO Lakshya, recently surveyed 2,000 families in Trilokpuri, found that nearly 80% of them were not ready to allow their children to eat midday meals served in civic and municipal schools. And nearly all families believe that meals should be prepared in the school, instead of being outsourced, to maintain better standards and quality.
Sanju Kumar, who coordinated the project says, "More than 1,600 parents don't let their children eat the meals. Many said they preferred packing lunch for their children after there were reports of insects in the food or of children falling ill from the meals."
According to the survey, while 99% of children were not satisfied with the quality of meals, 58.5% said they had found the food contaminated at least once. Another 11.5% students reportedly fell sick after eating the meals, and 60% of the families said they were afraid their children might fall sick. Close to 50% preferred to carry their own lunch to school, and around 44% gave the midday meal a skip entirely.
The survey also found that 99% of the cases, there was no soap provided to students to wash their hands after their meals. Moreover, it took a long time to distribute the food, which had seriously affected their studies.
Highlights of the survey:
- 2,000 families surveyed over two months,
- 1,600 parents don't let their children eat midday meals,
- 99% children not satisfied with quality of meals,
- 58.5% found the food contaminated at least once,
- 11.5% fell sick after eating meals,
- 50% preferred to carry their own lunch, and
- 44% completely skipped midday meals
A senior official from the Education department said, "The meals are prepared in a very clean environment. They are prepared in centralised kitchens and clean surroundings. There is no question of contamination or the food being sub-standard"