Impact of Home-Grown School Meals Programme on Access, Retention and Performance in Primary Schools: A Case Kitui County-Kenya
Mbunge, Mulonzya Paul
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Studies on impact of school feeding programmes on access, retention and performance have been conducted in various parts of the world all of which conclude that the programmes have the potential to increase access to primary education, reduce drop-out rates and promote academic achievements. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of Home Grown School Meals Programme (HGSMP) in Waita Zone in Kitui County on access, retention and performance of pupils in the primary schools since 2009. The objectives of this study were to: determine the impacts of Home Grown School Meals Programme to the access, retention and performance of pupils in primary schools in Waita Zone; assess issues and challenges experienced in the management of Home Grown School Meals Programme in the Zone; identify strategies that can be employed to make the programme more effective and efficient to the schools. The study was based on the Maslow‟s (1970) hierarchy of needs theory. Logically designed framework was used to describe the relationship between the study variables. The study employed descriptive research design with qualitative and quantitative techniques of data collection. Research instruments, used to collect data included questionnaires, interview schedules and observation guides. The data were sampled, coded and analyzed using descriptive and analytical statistics such as frequencies , percentages, means, skewness, kurtosis, variance and standard deviation with help of Statistical Package for Social Sciences(SPSS) and Micro Soft Excel that was subsequently presented in form of tables, graphs and charts. The study established the programme had positive impact on access and retention, but little impact on performance. Moreover, the study found that the biggest challenges included rising of food costs, insufficient funds and lack of procurement and management skills. The study also established that the class of drop-outs were higher before but the rates were checked after the introduction of HGSMP. The study concluded that proper management of the programme is beneficial and can enhance effective implementation of the programme. Among other recommendations, the study recommended the need for adequate funding for the programme in good time to ensure its sufficiency for the schools according to the pupil‟s population. Further areas for future research were made.