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Words: 2681, Paragraphs: 31, Pages: 9

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Early Childhood Education

Categories: Early Childhood Education


2.1 Introduction

This chapter contains the reviewed literature related to the topic of the study. It is summarized based on sub headings derived from the objectives of the study.

2.2 Type of School Feeding Programme and Academic Performance

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There are several types of school feeding programmes namely; centralized feeding programme managed and prepared by the school. Further, there are centralized and decentralized school feeding programmes which are managed either by the government or by the private sector. The government of Kenya introduced a more sustainable and nationally-owned Home-Grown School Meals Programme (HGSMP), prioritizing the local food supply to schools. Under the HGSMP, the Government disburses funds directly to schools and provide valuable guidelines on key aspects such as the nutritional composition of food baskets, adequate procurement processes and monitoring and evaluation. Other than the above mentioned school feeding programme, there is food prepared at home and carried to school. Children may also go home for lunch or caregivers may take food to their children at school, (Beryl, 2012).

A School Feeding programme with proper nutrition is essential for growth, development, health and pupil’s well-being. This statement is supported by the scholar Beryl (2012). In a study on School Feeding Programme in Sri Lanka indicated that Programmes facilitate the development of a child in all its dimensions and have considerable long-lasting effects on the child’s life (Beryl, 2012). Beryls study did not focus on academic performance rather it dwelled on growth, development, health and pupil’s well-being.

A School Feeding programme that has a well-balanced nutrition must be recognized as a vital component of a quality early childhood education Programme aimed at good performance. The pre-scholars’ health is one of the factors that determine in part the child’s schooling and performance. Bwibo (2011) says that malnutrition has become the highest risk factor for the educational future of children. It has serious developmental implications in young children because their ages are critical in growth and development. Therefore, education on nutrition should form an integral part of early childhood education Programme.

In India, Kar, Rao and Chandramouli (2012) studied the effect of stunted growth on the nature of cognitive impairments and on the rate of cognitive development. The study investigated whether malnutrition results in a concentrated impairment and a general slowing in the rate of development of all cognitive processes or if these effects could be present for some specific cognitive processes. Effects of malnutrition on cognitive processes were also looked at in relation to impairment without affecting the rate of development and its effect on the rate of development of the cognitive process itself. The subjects were identified as being malnourished or adequately nourished in the age groups of six to eight years old and nine to eleven years old. While Kar, Rao and Chandramouli (2012) study concentrated on effect of stunted growth on the nature of cognitive impairments and on the rate of cognitive development, the proposed study will link feeding programmes and academic performance of grade two pupils.

In addition to Kar et al (2012), Children in the malnourished group were identified using their height (stunting) and weight (wasting) of children in the same age categories with reference to the National Centre of Health Statistics (NCHS). Height for age/weight score less than two grade deviations from the mean were considered as an indicator for moderate to severe malnutrition. Adequately nourished children were identified as children who were in or above the 50th percentile of height and weight as stated by the NCHS grades. Adequately nourished students were paired with malnourished students with respect to age and grade level. Each group had 20 participants. Kar et al (2012), study did not bring out clearly how feeding programme results to pupils retention at school, enrolment rate and its relationship to academic performance.

In another study carried out in Nepal by Moock and Leslie (2000) , it was found out that the probability of attending school was 5% for stunted children versus 27% for children of normal nutritional status (Moock et al,2000). Looking at school attendance and enrolment in comparison between schools with or without school feeding programme, or observing changes in pupil’s number and daily attendance after introduction of School Feeding Programme, an evaluation of school feeding programme was done in Benin, Gambia by Jarousse and Mugot in 2011 to assess the relative importance of different factors in the learning of Grade twos pupil. The results of the study showed that School Feeding Programme had positive results because children looked healthy and performed better than those who were not provided with a School Feeding Programme. Jarousse and Mugot studies however did not mention the types of food offered and number of meals offered while the proposed study will embrace type of food offered as its key variable.

Academic performance was measured by comparing test scores in French and Mathematics at the beginning and the end of the school year in Benin, (Jarousse et al 2011). The study found out that children in schools with a feeding Programme performed better than those in schools without. When looking for possible explanation for such a positive relationship between learning achievement and the existence of a School Feeding Programme, the research showed that due to improved nutrition of children because of School Feeding Programme, attendance was good and performance was better in those schools as compared to schools without School Feeding Programme. Attending school regularly improves grade 2 childrens’ cognitive development, which improves learning and performance. Jarousse et al (2011) study however, was carried out Benin, while the proposed study will carry out a study in Nakuru County, Kenya.

In a study carried out at National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro-Sciences by Kar et al., (2012) students were tested individually in a well-controlled environment. The test they were given was the National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) neuropsychological battery test for children. It was developed for children aged five to fifteen years. The battery consisted of neuropsychological tests to assess motor speed, attention, official function, Vuisio- spatial connections, perception, learning and memory. Each section was grouped under a specific cognitive domain on the basis of theoretical rationale and factor analysis. The study by Kar et al., (2012) concentrated on mental developments and learning patterns of pupils but did not mention anything to do with feeding program and academic performance.

Kar et al. (2012) compared the performance of adequately nourished children to malnourished children and also compared age related differences in cognitive function and found that the malnourished children differed from the adequately nourished children on tests of phonemic fluency, design fluency, selective attention, Vusuo-spatial working memory, vusuospatial functions, verbal comprehension, verbal learning and memory.

Results for the verbal fluency tests showed that adequately-nourished children achieved higher mean scores in both age categories, six to eight year-olds and nine to eleven year-olds (4.7 and 6.3 respectively), when compared to their malnourished counterparts (2.14 and 5.6 respectively). Some of the other results had similar findings such as visual construction. Adequately nourished children in both age categories (11.0 and 16.8) scored higher than malnourished students (3.2 and 4.9) in the same age categories and also for verbal learning (34.6 and 43.7 vs. 27.3 and 32.1). These results show age-related differences within each group as well as between the two age groups. Kar et al (2012) also found a lack of age-related improvement in malnourished children when looking at cognitive functions of attention, cognitive flexibility, vusuo-spatial construction, ability and verbal learning. The Kar et al (2012) study focused mainly on nourishment of different ages of pupils but left out a crucial component of feeding programme and academic performance a focal point for the proposed study.

According to a WFP 2008 survey in Kenya, the net enrolment rate for boys and girls raised from 77% in 2002 to 97% in 2007 in Kenya. In part, this was due to free primary education and in part due to the provision of school meals and this brought the gender ratio close to parity in schools with feeding Programmes. This suggests that school meals attract the most underprivileged female students in class and also draw hungry children to school each day. The survey by WFP focused mainly on enrolment but left out a crucial component of feeding programme and academic performance.

In a study by Pollitt (2011), he argues that hunger at school is common and it interferes with the learning process. Many children go to school without eating breakfast and sometimes miss lunch. This leads to adverse effects of hunger which include poor cognition, lack of problem solving skills and concentration. Hungry children are less alert and lethargic. School Feeding Programmes cannot be expected to make direct measurable contribution to combating malnutrition among school children. Attention has thus been focused on school feeding role in maximizing children’s learning capacity through the relief of short-term hunger, where children are helped to concentrate and assimilate. Pollitts study however did not provide types of feeding programmes and number of meals in relation to academic performance. This represents the main objectives of the study.

According to Bellisle, (2014), the African region has the highest estimated prevalence of stunting (20.2 – 48.1%) and has the lowest rate of improvement. This report further says that in East Africa sub-region, rates of stunting are increasing. An analysis of the nutritional situation was done on various studies carried out among children and their nutritional status worldwide. The analysis concluded that growth retardation observed among school age children was striking and suggested that nutritional status of school children in these countries is at risk. Bellisle study focused on physical growth of pupils rather than feeding program associated with academic performance.

In Kenya, results from nutrition surveys indicate that the nutritional state of children below five has deteriorated. There is significant decline in nutritional status notably in Western and Nyanza regions (WHO, 2000). This obviously affects the children in the Grade 2 years with serious implications on their health as well as learning. In Western Province 37% of the children were stunted which was above the national rate of 33.6%. Vihiga District had the highest percentage of wasted children (12.5%), compared to other districts in the province (Central Bureau of Statistics, 2003). Stunting and underweight levels were higher in other districts. Central Bureau of Statistics study however did not bring out clearly the contribution of feeding programmes linking it to academic performance.

A study carried out by Odoyo (2015) in Homa-Bay County (Kenya) to investigate the occurrence of intestinal helminthiasis and malnutrition among school children, indicated that the prevalence of stunting was higher in boys than girls, although the study population was basically malnourished. Similarly, a study carried out by Marjorie, (2013) in Embu County, Kenya, on school-going children of ages seven to nine years matured seven to nine years demonstrated that 25% of the selection had an undersized growth .The studies by Odoyo (2015) and Marjorie, (2013) focused on physical growth rather than academic performance of grade two pupils.

2.3 Number of Meals Served in a School Feeding Programme and Academic Performance

The number of meals served in a School Feeding Programme varies and largely depends with the school and the type of feeding programme in place. For instance, there is once per day meal which comprises of either breakfast or lunch only, a two per day meal which comprises of breakfast and midday and a three per day meal which comprises of evening snack, mid-morning and lunch, (Pollitt, 2011).

The relationship between number of meals served in a school feeding programme and academic performance is often stated, however, studies have examined the effects of diet quantity on academic performance. Florence and Michelle (2008), stated that children perform better on gradeized tests when given adequate amount of food the day of the test. When schools can offer free or reduced lunch programmes these may positively affect academics, Florence and Michelle (2008) argued these programmes are not far reaching enough and cover only the most impoverished children. Florence and Michelle study did clearly link the Number of meals served in a School Feeding Programme and academic performance but focused on diet quantity on academic performance.

In a study carried out by Teras (2005) in Benin on whether proper frequency of meals improves scholarly ability. School feeding programmes have appeared viable job of number of meals in upgrading scholarly execution.Teras (2005), said that proper frequency of School feeding Programmes improves school performance and reduces absenteeism and tardiness, relieves hunger and improves children’s ability to succeed at school ,improves academic, behavioural, and emotional functioning and leads to increased math grades, lowered absenteeism, and improved behaviour. Teras study did not clearly highlight the number of meals appropriate in a school feeding programme thus warranting the proposed study to research its effects on academic performance.

A study carried out by Bellisle, (2014) indicates that proper frequency of food increases physical movement leading to higher scholastic accomplishment. Late examinations appear: Academic accomplishment enhances notwithstanding when the physical instruction diminishes the ideal opportunity for scholastics. A decrease of 240 minutes out of each week in class time for scholastics to empower expanded physical action prompted reliably higher arithmetic scores, an ongoing report has demonstrated a connection between’s the SAT-9 test results with the Fitness gram demonstrating that the physical prosperity of children directly affects their capacity to accomplish scholastically. Children with the most elevated wellness scores likewise had the most astounding test scores.On the contrary, Bellisle studies lay emphasis on physical education rather than the influence of number of meals in a school feeding programme on academic performance.

2.4 Types of Food Served in a School Feeding Programme and Academic Performance

School feeding programme might entail varied types of food. For instance; the programme may contain porridge for breakfast, tea and a snack for mid-morning and ugali with garbage for lunch, (Kings, 2011). It may also have other varieties such as rice and beans.

Colby and Morley, (2011), stated that what we eat directly influences the brain, Kretsch (2001) showed further possibilities that quality of food has a role with affecting cognitive functioning. Studies by Colby and Morley, (2011) and Kretsch (2001) have been done with school-aged children and point to a direct correlation between low quality type of food furthermore, brought down school execution. Iron reach food has likewise been appeared to assume an essential job in cerebrum work too. Kretsch (2001), refered to subtleties from an examination finished with men matured 27 to 47 that took a gander at iron and its impact on fixation. Colby and Morley, (2011) and Kretsch (2001) studies however did not provide the specific types of food essential for academic performance.

Types of food that provide good nutrients are essential for physical, intellectual and emotional development. However in Asia; more than 70% of children with protein energy malnutrition exist. Although food is essential, it has often been lacking, in the qualitative and quantitative point of view resulting in the occurrence of malnutrition. Indeed, malnutrition (under-nutrition, over-nutrition) is a public health problem of significant importance in developing countries (Asres and Eidelman, 2011). On the contrary, Asres and Eidelman study dwelled much on nutrition rather than providing evidence on how type of food affected academic performance of grade two children.

Needless to say, pre-school children are younger and more vulnerable to the effects than their older counterparts. Research on the effects of breakfast on cognition by Bellisle (2004) shows that, particularly for younger children, skipping breakfast can have adverse effects on both general energy-level and cognition. Bellisle (2004) further shows that consuming breakfast resulted in better scores on three different types of tests. Bellisle study did not specify the type of food but rather emphasised on breakfast as an important factor in academic performance.

2.5 Summary

While the proposed study aims at linking feeding program to academic performance, extant literature reviewed in the literature review section tackled school bolstering program impact on the pupils’ education in terms of class involvement, enrolment, class attendance and dropout rate. Most of these examinations were anyway done in different zones influenced by such disasters as dry season and conflict and none was done of the impact of school bolstering program on grade 2 learners in Nakuru county, Kenya hence a knowledge

About the author

The following sample is written by Matthew who studies English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. All the content of this paper is his own research and point of view on FEEDING PROGRAMME and can be used only as an alternative perspective.

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