In 2018, the Government of Kenya took over the Home-Grown School Meals Programme, a remarkable initiative started in 2009.
This program provides primary school children with a daily hot lunch, improving the quality of education and reducing dropout rates in Kenya.
It not only supports students’ transition to secondary education but also addresses their psychological needs, a crucial factor in achieving success.
Psychological needs, along with individual factors, social relationships, and learning preferences, play a significant role in student success.
Some of the implications of school feeding programs on the successful educational journeys of students include the following:
- Malnutrition has a significant effect on students’ cognitive abilities, concentration, and school performance. By ensuring students receive proper nutrition, the school feeding programs contribute to increased student academic engagement;
- Families facing economic challenges will prioritize work or household responsibilities over education. By offering free or subsidized meals, the school feeding programs help to alleviate the financial burden on families and encourage them to send their children to school consistently;
- For students living in ASAL areas or regions experiencing hunger or food insecurity, attending school becomes a challenge or even impossible. By addressing food insecurity and alleviating hunger, the school feeding programs help to ensure that students have access to regular meals during the school day, creating a more conducive learning environment.
- Well-nourished students are more likely to be attentive, engaged, and able to focus on their studies. Proper nutrition provided by school feeding programs positively affects students’ physical and cognitive development and contributes to improved academic performance.
To ensure students’ psychological needs are met, teachers and parents must engage effectively. School feeding programs have several implications for students’ educational journeys, including:
Increased Academic Engagement: By providing proper nutrition, school feeding programs positively impact students’ cognitive abilities, concentration, and academic performance. This leads to higher engagement in digital assessments.
Alleviating Economic Challenges: Offering free or subsidized meals relieves the financial burden on families, encourages consistent school attendance, and supports students’ educational journey.
Overcoming Regional Challenges: In regions experiencing hunger or food insecurity, school attendance becomes difficult. School feeding programs tackle food insecurity by ensuring regular meals for students and creating a conducive learning environment.
Enhanced Focus and Performance: Well-nourished students exhibit improved concentration, focus, and cognitive abilities, resulting in better engagement and performance during digital assessments.
So, how do school feeding programs influence the success of digital assessments in K–12 classrooms?
Attendance and Participation: Regular meals reduce absenteeism due to hunger, leading to increased attendance and comprehensive participation in digital assessments.
Access to Technology and Resources: School feeding programs provide access to essential technology resources, ensuring equal opportunities for all students to participate in digital learning and assessments.
Improved Engagement and Focus: Proper nutrition positively impacts students’ overall well-being, health, and readiness to learn. Well-nourished students exhibit improved concentration and engagement during digital assessments.
Personalized Learning: School feeding programs enable tailored instruction and adaptive assessments, addressing individual student needs and contributing to improved academic performance.
Reduction of Socioeconomic Barriers: By addressing food insecurity and lack of resources, school feeding programs create an equitable learning environment, positively impacting students’ performance in digital assessments.
Emotional and psychological well-being: school feeding programs address students’ basic needs, positively impacting their mental health and confidence during digital assessments.
Effective collaboration between parents and teachers is crucial for student success. It leads to benefits such as improved classroom behavior, enhanced teacher-student relationships, increased attendance, support for emotional well-being, alleviation of financial burden for parents, improved parental engagement, enhanced child well-being, and increased focus on education.
In conclusion, school feeding programs contribute to a positive learning environment by addressing students’ nutritional needs, improving academic performance, reducing inequalities, and supporting teachers in creating optimal classrooms.
By considering the context and effectiveness of these programs, they can potentially enhance students’ readiness for digital assessments and contribute to overall student success.