1.1 Background to the Study
The United Nations, in response to the challenges posed by globalization, established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000. These goals prioritized addressing hunger and poverty as their primary focus. The MDGs aimed to reduce global hunger by half by 2015, with school feeding programs (SFPs) recognized as a means to achieve this goal. School feeding programs were seen as an effective way to increase school attendance, especially for girls, and stimulate the demand for locally cultivated foods (Martens, 2007; Sulemana et al., 2013).
The United Nations Hunger Task Force (UNHTF) recommended seven strategies to reduce hunger and poverty, including the implementation of SFPs that incorporate food sourced locally. This approach integrated education and agriculture, enhancing school attendance and supporting smallholder farmers (Bukari & Hajara, 2015; Martens, 2007). The suggested feeding programs encompassed various elements beyond providing meals, such as de-worming, micronutrient supplementation, take-home rations, access to safe cooking facilities, clean drinking water, health education, nutrition, hygiene, and improved sanitation (Martens, 2007).
African leaders recognized their role in developing their countries and improving living conditions, leading to the formation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) in 2002 as part of the African Union (AU). NEPAD embraced the school feeding concept and emphasized the integration of school feeding programs and agriculture. This was reflected in the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP), which aimed to promote agricultural growth, food security, and rural development in Africa. The program's third pillar focused on improving food supply, reducing hunger, and increasing demand for food products, thereby supporting smallholder farms (Martens, 2007; Sulemana et al., 2013; Oduro-Ofori & Adwoa-Yeboah, 2014).
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
In Nigeria, a country grappling with food insecurity, many households struggle to provide their children and dependents with nourishing meals that can enhance their cognitive and sensory capabilities, thus improving their academic performance in school. Regrettably, some pupils end up dropping out of school due to the absence of nutritious meals. According to the United Nations, as reported in Osun Defender (2014), only one in five pupils in developing countries, including Nigeria, receives adequate caloric intake. In fact, in Nigeria, less than 500,000 pupils have access to nutritional meals at school. Furthermore, UNICEF, as cited in Ayoola (2014), points out that while an estimated 25.8 million children are enrolled in school in Nigeria, a significant 7 million remain out of school.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to examine the effects of school feeding program on the academic performance of pupils in Nigeria, using Kano metropolis as a case study. Specific objectives of the study are:
- To examine the challenges of school feeding program in Kano metropolis.
- To examine the effect of school feeding program on academic performance of pupils in Kano Metropolis.
- To examine the effectiveness of school feeding programs in Kano 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 Kano Metropolis?
2. What are the effects of school feeding programs on the academic performance of pupils in Kano metropolis?
3. How effective are the school feeding programs in Kano 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 academic performance of pupils.
- Hi: There is a statistical significant relationship between school feeding program and academic performance 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 Kano 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
1. 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 academic performance.
2. Academic Performance: The measure of a student's achievement in their educational activities, which may include grades, test scores, class participation, and other assessments of their knowledge and skills.
3. Pupils: Students who attend primary or elementary schools, typically children in the early stages of their formal education, often between the ages of 6 and 12.
4. Nutrition: The process of obtaining and consuming the necessary nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients, that are essential for growth, development, and overall well-being.
5. 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.
6. Health: The state of physical, mental, and social well-being in which an individual is free from illness, injury, and other health-related concerns.
7. Government Initiative: A program or project launched and funded by a governmental authority to address specific social, economic, or educational issues, in this context, related to school feeding.
8. Test Scores: The numerical results of standardized tests or assessments that evaluate a student's knowledge, skills, and comprehension in specific subjects or areas of study.
9. Grades: The marks or evaluations assigned to students to reflect their performance in coursework, often using letter or numerical scales, such as A, B, C, D, or F.
10. Educational Activities: The range of tasks, exercises, and assignments that students undertake as part of their learning process, including classroom instruction, homework, projects, and examinations.
11. Initiative Impact: The observable effects or outcomes resulting from the implementation of a specific program or intervention, in this case, the impact of the school feeding program on academic performance.