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The Impact Of National School Nutrition Programme On Health And Well Being Learners

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TITLE:

THE IMPACTS OF NATIONAL SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMME ON THE WELL-BEING AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF LEARNERS FROM POVERTY- STRICKEN FAMILIES .

AUTHOR: A.B

DOCUMENT TYPE: RESEARCH PROPOSAL

ASSIGNMENT: 02

DATE: 2011/05/25

THE IMPACT OF NATIONAL SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMME ON THE WELL-BEING AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF LEARNERS FROM POVERTY-STRICKEN FAMILIES .

INTRODUCTION

Many children in rural areas, Limpopo province are from very low socio- economic status families, most of their parents or care givers depend on Social grant and Child Support Grant as a source of income. I've noticed that every day in the morning they won't forget to take their empty plastic plates to school, when I asked them why they take plates to school, they told me that it's for their food that they get at school, as there is nothing to eat at home. I realise the importance of National School Nutrition Programme on the lives of children from poor families. Most of learners are being raised by their grandmothers; some are from single- parent homes, and some children are from the households where only one member is working, resulting in learners attending school without having a decent meal.

Several studies conducted in Eastern Cape Province, KZN, and Western Cape, indicated that the feeding scheme programme is playing an important role in children's lives, and that the programme has been effective in improving the academic performance, psychological well-being and health status of needy children. It seems only few studies were conducted in Limpopo Province. What seems repeatedly to emerge from these surveys is that National School Nutrition Programme is an effective strategy in the improvement of academic performance, psychological well-being and health status of school children. Therefore the aim of this study is to determine whether the school feeding programme is successful in eradicating hunger and poverty experienced by needy learners.

PURPOSE OF STUDY

The purpose of the study is to determine whether the National School Nutrition Programme has positive impact on the performance of needy learners particularly in rural schools. And to evaluate the effectiveness of NSNP in eradicating hunger and poverty experienced by learners.

RESEARCH AIM:

The research aims to understand, describe and explore the perceptions and experiences of learners, parents and teachers concerning the National School Nutrition Programme, to contribute to the existing body of knowledge, and also through the findings of the study aim to identify the weakness or shortcomings of the feeding scheme in the rural schools and make some recommendations in order to improve the programme and ensure its smooth running , like assisting children from poorest family to get take-home rations that will assists them during weekends and school holidays..

LITERATURE REVIEW

The road to a better life begins with education, but the great challenge is that provision of education is hampered by the fact that majority of the South African population in rural areas is plagued by high levels of poverty. Research has shown that learner's attention span is enhanced if they are provided with nutrition prior to and during the school day (Del Rosso and Miller, 1995:5).

The studies conducted in South Africa in 2002 indicated that 14-19% of schoolchildren had nothing to eat before they went to school (Kruger, Dhansay, Labadarios, Kotiah & Kullman 2002:15). Klugman, 2002 indicated that the consequences of food insecurity may include behavioural changes, susceptibility to infections and learning disabilities.

Research findings shows that better health will contribute to better education and when a child is in good health it better school attendance and also improves on the child ability to learn (Nel, 2005). The fact that poorly nourished children benefit cognitively from School Feeding Programmes has also been demonstrated in several studies (Allen 2001: Grantham-McGregor 1998: Levitsky 2005: Powel 1998). In all these studies a significant increase was detected in school test-performance between under-nourished children receiving breakfast or lunch and children in the control group not receiving breakfast or lunch at school.

Report on the evaluation of the NSNP in Eastern Cape shows that: the majority of beneficiaries come from poor family backgrounds. According to the findings

* 55% of learners do not live with their biological parents,

* 15% live in single parent- mother households,

* 3% of learners come from child-headed households and

* 2% live in single- parent- father households.

Learners from such households are exposed to social vulnerabilities such as poverty and hunger and these households are likely not have dependable and sustainable means of income , which further deepen their vulnerability (PSC,2008:15) . Swartz in his research recommended that school feeding schemes should provide take-home rations over weekends. Because it is more evident that there is an increase of learners who beg on the streets during weekends and during long school holidays because they do not have enough to eat or to supplement any food insecurities that they may experience at home (Swartz,2009).

Most learners from poor families comes to school hungry in the morning and as a results of hunger learners find it difficult to concentrate in class and to perform complex tasks. Learners whose cognitive abilities are impaired naturally underperform. Research has shown that an improvement in nutrition and health can lead to better academic performance, reduce drop-out rates and fewer repeated grades (Del Rosso and Miller, 1995:5).

Mitchell, 2003, indicated that hungry children are less likely to go to school and less able to learn if they do attend school. In addition, he indicated that poverty correlates with education programme. NSNP has become an integral part of the motivating factor among the learners because learners have reasons to go to school. The Public Service Commission indicate that 80% of learners eat food at their respective schools and less than 37% learners eat breakfast at their homes.

The Primary School Nutrition Programme (PSPN) was introduced in 24 May 1994 and classified as a

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