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Plea to Gujarat government to implement midday meal scheme in private schools

By Our Representative
Senior environmental activist Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra has asked Gujarat education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma to ensure that the midday meal scheme is not just confined to government schools but is also extended to private and government funded schools.
Pointing out that privately-run schools are equally required to implement the right to education (RTE) Act, in a letter to Chudasma, Pandya said, the scheme, which is implemented with the “noble intention” to providing adequate nutrition to the students studying in pre-primary and upper primary schools, should be universally implemented.
“Under the RTE Act, children from poor families are admitted to private schools for which admission fees, tuition fees, etc. are paid by the government, because they come from poor families and are not affluent families”, said Pandya.
Yet, he added, “Children in private schools are not given the benefit of the scheme. These children are deprived of its benefits and consequently children from poor families admitted under RTE cannot get nutritious food.”
Pandya argued, these children admitted under RTE “would suffer from mental imbalance and inferiority complex due to non-availability of breakfast facilities like other children”, adding, “Children from such poor families will have to bring breakfast from home if they are not given mid day meal.”
“It is not possible for these children to take fast food from the market which is not good for health. Moreover, it will be a financial burden on the families which may cause the child to drop out of school”, he added.

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