By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has charged the Federal Government on the need to adopt the state educational programme with a view to curbing the security challenges the nation is battling.
Also, an Official of the World Bank, Dr. Don Bundy, said school feeding programme should not be seen as a charity but a huge and sound investment targeted at improving lives and living condition of children from the poorest homes across the world.
The World Bank chief then charged the Federal Government on the need to adopt the feeding policy across the country saying that countries across the globe feed their school children with an annual average of N75 million and that health, education, aid and trade of countries across the world will be improved upon if school feeding programme is embraced and well positioned.
Governor Aregbesola and Bundy disclosed this on Thursday, 22nd May, 2014, when the former was declaring open a three day workshop on Technical Meeting on Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O-MEALS) held at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, the state capital.
Describing the failure of the nation’s successive administrations in bringing up children socially and educationally as the reason behind high spate of terrorist activities presently rocking the country, Aregbesola stressed that badly educated children grow up to develop hatred for the society thus becoming tools for destruction in the hands of terrorists.
The Governor then stressed that the Federal Government could take a cue from his administration’s school feeding programme which was packaged to meet up with the world standard and in conformity with statues of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) maintaining that it would go a long way in nipping in the bud the security challenges presently facing the country.
Aregbesola however urged all concerned individuals in the country to concentrate in the development of children adding that they should carry out their duties with all sense of responsibility.
According to the Governor, O-Meals was a revolution in governance saying his administration made it a priority to deworm elementary school children across the state in order to guard against lost of nutrients in children.
Governor Aregbesola then stated that “through the implementation of O-Meals programme, the nation’s education sector would be positively positioned, more jobs would be created, agriculture sectors would be improved upon while qualitative health programme would be made available to the citizenry thus securing the nation’s future”.
He thereafter appreciated efforts of all those who had, at one time or the other, partnered with the state government to make the programme a success with a special commendation to Local Government Council Areas in the state who had provided no less than sixty percent of the total expenditure on O-Meals to the state government put at over N3 billion annually.
Governor Aregbesola also used the occasion to call on other willing partners to come into the aid of the state government so as to sustain the programme for many years to come and extend it to Middle and High school students in public schools across the state.
Speaking in the same vein, the state Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Grace Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, called on the Federal Government to encourage state governments across the country to get involve in school feeding programmes by increasing allocation to school feeding programmes considering its huge investment.
According to her, O-Meals has positively impacted on the economy of the State of Osun through employment generation for youths in general and unemployed graduates in particular as a large number of them have been assisted financially to embark on food and animal production.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, represented by Dr. Chris Isokonu of the Federal Ministry of Health, commended efforts of Governor Aregbesola for taking up the challenge of feeding school children in the state not minding the financial challenges confronting the state.
Advising parents to always feed their children with food rich in energy to secure their future, the Minister appealed to Governor Aregbesola to kindly extend the O-Meal programme to pre-school children in the state saying it would improve on the feeding of children under the age of five across the state.Aregbesola, World Bank Charge FG On O-Meals, Child Education