1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
School feeding programs have been introduced in numerous developed and developing countries worldwide to address poverty, boost school enrollment, and enhance students' academic performance. In developing countries, millions of children attend school on an empty stomach, making school meals essential for their nourishment. Parents are encouraged to send their children to school rather than keeping them at home to work or care for siblings (Akanbi, 2013). The initiation of school feeding programs can be traced back to the MDGs and various conferences held by African leaders to tackle issues such as peace, security, governance, and economic development. Initiatives like the New Partnership for African Development, Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program, and the Millennium Hunger Task Force aimed to link school feeding with agricultural development through the use of locally produced food (Bundy et al., 2009).
Nigeria was one of twelve pilot countries selected to implement the school feeding program. Consequently, Nigeria, along with Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, and Mali, initiated the implementation of the program. The Federal Government of Nigeria introduced the Universal Basic Education Act in 2004, providing the legal framework for the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Program. The program was officially launched by the Federal Ministry of Education in 2005 to reduce hunger and malnutrition among school children and enhance the achievement of Universal Basic Education. Kano was among the twelve states chosen to implement the program. While the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Program was launched, it did not gain significant attention until a change of government in the state in November 2010.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite the fact that access to education is steadily expanding across developing countries with enrolment in higher education rising sharply, a number of obstacles such as poverty and hunger still keep about 67 million children of primary-school age out of school, of which 53% of them are girls and almost 43% of whom are in sub-Sahara Africa. Enrolment rates are slowing and being eroded by dropout, particularly in countries affected by armed conflict where over 40% of out-of-school children live. Progress in reducing the number of out of school children of primary school age has slowed down since 2005 and stagnated since 2008 at around 61 million (Abu-Bakr, 2008).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to examine the impact of school feeding program on the enrollment and retention of pupils in Nigeria, using Uyo metropolis as a case study. Specific objectives of the study are:
- To examine the challenges of school feeding program in Uyo metropolis.
- To examine the effect of school feeding program on pupils’ enrollment and retention in Uyo Metropolis.
- To examine the effectiveness of school feeding programs in Uyo metropolis.
1.4 Research Questions
To guide the study and achieve the objectives of the study, the following research questions were formulated:
- What are the challenges of school feeding programs in Uyo Metropolis?
2. What are the effects of school feeding programs on pupils’ enrollment and retention in Uyo metropolis?
3. How effective are the school feeding programs in Uyo Metroplis?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The following research hypothesis was developed and tested for the study:
- Ho: There is no statistical significant relationship between school feeding program and enrollment of pupils.
- Ho: There is no statistical significant relationship between school feeding program and retention of pupils.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study is important for many reasons. The following are the major stakeholders this paper through its practical and theoretical implications and findings will be of great significance:
Firstly, the paper will benefit major stakeholders and policy makers in the education sector. The various analysis, findings and discussions outlined in this paper will serve as a guide in enabling major positive changes in the industry and sub-sectors.
Secondly, the paper is also beneficial to the organizations used for the research. Since first hand data was gotten and analysed from the organization, they stand a chance to benefit directly from the findings of the study in respect to their various organizations. These findings will fast track growth and enable productivity in the organisations used as a case study.
Finally, the paper will serve as a guide to other researchers willing to research further into the subject matter. Through the conclusions, limitations and gaps identified in the subject matter, other student and independent researchers can have a well laid foundation to conduct further studies.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is delimited to select primary schools in Uyo Metroplis. Findings and recommendations from the study reflects the views and opinions of respondents sampled in the area. It may not reflect the entire picture in the population.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The major limitations of the research study are time, financial constraints and delays from respondents. The researcher had difficulties combining lectures with field work. Financial constraints in form of getting adequate funds and sponsors to print questionnaires, hold Focus group discussions and logistics was recorded. Finally, respondents were a bit reluctant in filling questionnaires and submitting them on time. This delayed the project work a bit.
1.9 Organization of the Study
The study is made up of five (5) Chapters. Chapter one of the study gives a general introduction to the subject matter, background to the problem as well as a detailed problem statement of the research. This chapter also sets the objectives of the paper in motion detailing out the significance and scope of the paper.
Chapter Two of the paper entails the review of related literature with regards to corporate governance and integrated reporting. This chapter outlines the conceptual reviews, theoretical reviews and empirical reviews of the study.
Chapter Three centers on the methodologies applied in the study. A more detailed explanation of the research design, population of the study, sample size and technique, data collection method and analysis is discussed in this chapter.
Chapter Four highlights data analysis and interpretation giving the readers a thorough room for the discussion of the practical and theoretical implications of data analyzed in the study.
Chapter Five outlines the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the study. Based on objectives set out, the researcher concludes the paper by answering all research questions set out in the study.
1.10 Definition of Terms
- School Feeding Program: A government or organization-sponsored initiative that provides regular and balanced meals to students during school hours, with the aim of improving their nutrition, health, and overall well-being, and potentially impacting school enrollment and retention.
- Enrollment: The act of enrolling or registering students in educational institutions, marking the beginning of their formal education, often signifying the first step in the educational journey.
- Retention: The continuation of students' participation in an educational program, often signifying their continuous presence and advancement within the same educational institution over time.
- Impact: The observable effect or influence of a particular intervention or program, such as a school feeding program, on the behaviors, outcomes, or conditions of enrolled pupils, specifically with regard to their enrollment and retention in school.
- Nourishment: The provision of essential nutrients through regular and balanced meals, promoting the physical and mental well-being of pupils, which can positively influence their educational journey by enhancing their overall health.
- Nutrition: The process of obtaining and consuming necessary nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients, that are essential for growth, development, and well-being, including cognitive and physical development.
- Balanced Meal: A meal that contains a variety of foods from different food groups, providing essential nutrients in appropriate proportions to meet the nutritional needs of the individual.
- Educational Institutions: Organizations or establishments, such as schools, that provide formal education and instruction to students at various levels, including primary and secondary schools.
- Intervention: A deliberate action or program designed to bring about positive changes or improvements in a specific area, in this context, focused on enhancing school enrollment and retention through a school feeding program.
- Program Evaluation: The systematic process of assessing the effectiveness and outcomes of a program, in this case, the impact of a school feeding program on the enrollment and retention of pupils in educational institutions.